Plums genetically engineered for resistance to plum pox, a disease carried by aphids.

The Answer: Your Health

For more than 40 industrialized nations — including countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, Russia, and Spain — the question of whether or not to identify and label GMOs is a no-brainer. When asked how Europeans handle GMO labeling, a European colleague of mine — not surprisingly — laughed as she wisely said, “You Americans can make such a big deal out of nothing. In Europe, this is a very easy question to answer: Research has consistently shown that it is bad for you, so we stopped using it.”

What she meant is that GMO labeling is a requirement in Europe. Because well-informed Europeans do not want to eat GMOs, they simply stopped buying them. The same food companies — such as Nestle, Kraft and Hershey, the ones pouring millions of dollars into defeating the ballot in California — Do not use GMOs in the European food market. Period.

The Link Between GMOs and Disease

In 2008, I read a report on — an online magazine — about a condition called Morgellons disease. The symptoms of this “unknown” disease included: crawling, stinging, biting, and crawling sensations; threads or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; and granules or lesions. Some patients reported fatigue, short-term memory loss, mental confusion, joint pain, and changes in vision.

The condition was initially dismissed, but the disease was later reported as being “possibly” real and a link to genetically-modified food was suggested; however, the CDC classified Morgellons disease as being of unknown origin and left the patients suffering from it and the surrounding community wondering what to do.

A research study was finally run on fiber samples taken from Morgellons patients. [7] It was discovered that, although the fiber samples of all the patients looked remarkably similar, they did not seem to match any common environmental fiber. But when the fiber was broken down and its DNA extracted, it became apparent that it belonged to a fungus. The fibers were found to contain Agrobacterium: a genus gram-negative bacteria with the capacity to transform plant, animal, and even human cells.

Morgellons disease is not the only condition associated with genetically-modified foods. Allergies, liver problems, sterility and overall immune-compromising disorders have all been linked to GMO foods. [2] Experiments conducted on genetically-modified food show that genetic material in genetically-modified food product can transfer into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and still continue to thrive. [1]

Even Monsanto Scientists Won’t Touch That Stuff!

A few months ago, I read an article by best-selling writer and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith. Mr. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. In his article entitled “Just Say No to GMOs: Sowing the Seeds of Deception,” Smith writes that an ex-Monsanto scientist revealed to him that, due to the results of tests on milk from cows injected with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH), three of his colleagues refused to drink milk again unless it was organic. [1] Why? Because Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) is well-known for causing cancer and the scientists were well aware that IGF-1 was found on rbGH: The very hormone they inject into the milk-producing cows.

According to Smith, the scientists also disclosed that Monsanto employees discovered adverse reactions in rodents that were fed genetically-modified corn. It was further revealed that instead of withdrawing the dangerous crops, the study was written to omit the problem. [1]

Won’t labeling cost the consumer a lot of money?

The state’s most recent data on the cost of GMO food labeling showed that the cost would be up to $1 million, less than 3 cents per person in California. [6] On the other hand, as Smith wrote in his article, “If food companies [who manufacture food containing GMOs] were to simply eliminate GMOs rather than admit they use them, the measure would cost Monsanto plenty.” Isn’t it clear why companies like Monsanto have spent more than $44 million on the fight against Prop 37, according to [6]

But It Is Expensive to Eat Organic…

In most cases, organic food is still more expensive than “conventionally grown” food that is sprayed with all kinds of pesticides. So what do those who cannot afford to eat an all-organic diet do? Become familiarized with which foods are the most common GMO crops and do their best to either avoid them altogether — like Europe did — or buy them at the local farmers’ market.

There are essentially 10-12 GMO crops plus their derivatives: corn, rice, some tomatoes, soy, white potatoes, cottonseed oil, peas, Canola oil, papaya (mostly Hawaiian), crook neck squash, some Zucchini, and alfalfa hay for animal feed.

Unfortunately, the derivatives or so-called “offspring” of these foods, especially corn and soy, are included in so many processed foods that finding out precisely which ones they are in is a daunting task. [3]

The website can help. It lists GMO-free products by category and all are verified by the Non-GMO Project.

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