AMA Position as June 18, 2012: When it comes to genetically modified foods, the American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a “trust but verify” policy: the foods seem safe, but they still need to be checked out. This policy was adopted Tuesday at the AMA’s House of Delegates that states that although there is no proven risk to foods coming from plants or animals whose DNA has been tweaked, the association would still like to see such foods go through a mandatory pre-market safety approval process.
Prior to adopting this policy there was a very contentious debate on Sunday where some concerned AMA members called for mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, while others maintained there isn’t enough science to show such foods pose any risks to human health.
Although the AMA does not support labeling, it does support pre-market safety assessments, AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD, said in a statement. That includes testing for major changes in nutrient or toxicant levels, which Harris called a “preventive measure to ensure the health of the public.”
Basics of Genetic Engineering: In the late 1980’s, a health epidemic struck the United States, killing more than 100 people, and ultimately affected another 5,000 to 10,000 people who become deathly ill, some of whom became disabled. It took more than 4 years to discover the cause of the epidemic. Finally, the source of the epidemic was identified as L-tryptophan, a sixty-year old, well-accepted form of food supplementation. It was determined a certain brand had genetically engineered a new form of it and that resulted in the health catastrophe.
Genetic engineering of plants and animals is aggressively and distinctly becoming what could become the most massive challenge yet to human beings because the changes can be self-perpetuating, and any errors will be genetically passed on to the next generation. The genetically-engineered plants that are the most common in the United States are corn, soy, canola, cottonseed oil, and wheat. It is estimated that 40% of the corn supply and 80% of the soybean supply are genetically engineered. It is practically impossible in the marketplace today to escape genetically altered products––they have become ingredients in the dominant part of the products in our grocery stores––60% of food products in the typical grocery store have genetically modified content, and therefore are inevitably in our kitchens and pantries.
In May 2009, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) released its position paper on Genetically Modified (GMO) foods stating that:
“GMO foods pose a serious health risk…” and calling for a moratorium on GMO foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes “…there is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects” and that “…GMO foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.”
The AAEM called for the following actions to be taken:
- a moratorium on GMO food;
- implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GMO food;
- physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GMO foods;
- physicians to consider the role of GMO foods in their patients’ disease processes; and
- more independent long-term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GMO foods on human health.
According to Dr. Amy Dean, PR chair and Board Member of AAEM,
“Multiple animal studies have shown that GMO foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GMO foods for the safety of our patients’ and the public’s health.”
One of the main reasons for the problems with the GMO’s is that as a result of the genetic modification, these crops produce new proteins that have never been present before. They are truly alien to the earth! As a result of this, our bodies are not capable of properly breaking them down. As a result, the proteins produced and consumed cause the animal or human to have allergic reactions to the “alien” protein. This reaction will cause inflammation within the body.
This inflammation in the system is the true problem because it has been shown that inflammation is the cause of many of the major health problems today. These include arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.
The major problem with GMO’s is they are part of the content of about everything we eat! GMO’s started as experimental and it was assumed that they would never enter the food supply. However, that has all changed. Now, unless you are consuming a food that is certified as organic, chances are there is some substance in the product that is genetically modified.
There are several reasons for the development of GMO seeds––they are created to be resistant:
- to pests,
- to herbicides,
- have cold tolerance, and
- disease resistance.
The plan was to increase yields and “feed the world.” At this point, it is highly questionable if this will be achieved––in fact it appears that the overall production may be diminishing. In the past, farmers would harvest their crops, sell, and/or save the grain, holding back some grain for seeds for their next year’s crops. With the development of GMO’S, if the farmers buy and plant the GMO seeds it is illegal to hold grain back for seed because legally the seed is owned by companies such as Monsanto. The companies control the distribution and pricing of their patented seed products.
There are a number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.
A reported side effect of raising GMOs is the genetically modified plant are cross-pollinating with non-modified plants and causing a gene transfer in the otherwise normal plant. For example, the GMO plants that are developed to be pesticide-resistant will actually produce their own pesticides, and these genetic modifications may even cause the same types of production through cross-pollination in regular plants. Then it is entirely possible that this production––since it is may be in the form of a virus or bacteria that was introduced into the plant for resistance––could take place in our own intestinal system, which in turn could cause our own body to produce the pesticide or herbicide within the intestinal tract or other organ.
These problems may be some of the causes for the new mystery illnesses that are becoming more abundant such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and other health problems which include higher risks of toxicity, allergies, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression, and cancer.
There are possible effects on the environment:
- biological pollution causing plants and animals to become extinct, or
- creation of super weeds and unknown viruses.
Also, there is the high probability of contamination of non-altered as well as engineered plants and animals. The problem is that we just don’t know.
- Have we opened a Pandora’s Box with inherently dangerous alterations?
- Have we are created allergies?
GMO soybeans and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties, nutritional related problems and diseases and even poisons. Scientists are arguing for long-term testing.
According to Canadian geneticist David Suzuki, there isn’t any scientific evidence to show the GMO plants and food are safe, and he warns, “The experiments simply haven’t been done and we now have become the guinea pigs.” He continues, “Anyone that says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying.“
Of equally high concern is an untested and unregulated category of “nanotechnology” that also alters food products, nutritional supplements, and packaging. Nanotechnology is also referred to as molecular manufacturing––which is the alteration of materials on a nanoscale of a millionth of a millimeter (180,000 the size of human hair). According to a definition in a recent report in Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food, May 5, 2006, food is “nanofood” when nanoparticles, nanotechnology techniques, or tools are used during cultivation, production, processing, or packaging of the food.
Nanotechnology is promoted on the forecasting of improved food flavor, nutrition and processing. There is to be a category of “functional foods” (common, everyday foods that are capable of conveying medications and supplements).
This is all promoted, for worldwide approval, on the back of the promise of increased production and economics––that this technology will save the world from starvation.
A report, “Out of the Laboratory and onto Our Plates: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture, ‘Friends of the Earth,’ 2nd ed., Apr. 2008, states that nanomaterials are in very popular drinks and packaging including Miller Light® beer, Cadbury® Chocolate packaging, and ToddlerHealth®, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold at health food stores, including WholeFoods Markets.
‘Nanotechnology can be very dangerous when used in food,’ said report co-author Dr. Rye Senjen. ‘Early scientific evidence indicates that some nanomaterials produce free radicals which destroy or mutate DNA and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Existing regulations in the US did not require testing or labeling for nanomaterials when they were created from existing approved chemicals, despite major differences in potential toxicity.”
There are major differences between genetically engineering or modifying than that of breeding. Breeding does not cross species’ barriers and does not create plants and foods that could never naturally occur. Not only are there potential health and environment problems, there are also ethical questions that could be addressed about this technology.
To avoid the genetically altered, engineered, molecularly manufactured plants and products, plant your own garden and preserve your own foods. Buy locally-grown meats and fresh organic food.
When you must buy processed foods, read the labels thoroughly!
The following website http://www.safe-food.org/-consumer/shop, and others, will give you a strong start. Let you browser find references for you on the Internet.
Learn to read product labels––however, reading labels is no guarantee you’ll get no GMO products, because the manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients used in their processes.
We have a long way to go to resolve these issues! Let us know how you feel about genetically modified food.
Making the Best of Basics; Basics of Genetic Engineering, Chapter 26-1 through Chapter 16-4: For a free download of Basics of Genetic Engineering by Dr. Richard E. Busch go to http://buschchiropractic.com/free-downloads.
The FDA has not evaluated all of these statements. This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult your own personal doctor or licensed professional for medical advice.
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