Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): Updates
In the Controversy and the Latest Studies
I posted my November 2014 Top Holistic
Health Reads that included the latest research in wellness, nutrition,
nutrigenomics, naturopathic and functional medicine, and other health topics.
(It was long, but I also made it skim friendly in observance of the holidays!)
One of the major themes in November
that deserved special attention was the impact of genetically modified foods on our
health. Therefore, here are the updates- especially for you, my Saratoga
Of Cows and Pesticides
A recent study with cows
demonstrated that exposure to the pesticide glyphosate in their feed caused a change in their microbiome. Specifically, it caused an inhibition in a select group of bacteria and an increase in
conclusion, glyphosate causes dysbiosis which favors the production of BoNT in
the rumen. The global regulations restrictions for the use of glyphosate should
The Influence of Glyphosate on the
Microbiota and Production of Botulinum Neurotoxin During Ruminal Fermentation.
Current Microbiology. November 19, 2014. DOI: 10.1007/s00284-014-0732-3
Ji, S. GM Food Causes Deadly
Bacteria To Grow In Your Gut. Green Med Info. November 19, 2014.
GMI Reporter. News Release: GMOs
Linked to Exploding Gluten Sensitivity Epidemic (FREE PDF). November 25, 2013.
GMO Analysis in Rats Shows
Lack of Safety Evidence in Critters
A review of the effects of
three widely eaten genetically modified genes on the health of rodents was
released. Only 21 studies for nine out of the 47 crops approved for human
and/or animal consumption were found for review. The researchers report that more studies are needed to evaluate safety (bold emphasis
could find no studies on the other 38 (81%) approved crops. Fourteen out of the
21 studies (67%) were general health assessments of the GM crop on rat health. Most
of these studies (76%) were performed after the crop had been approved for
human and/or animal consumption, with half of these being published at least
nine years after approval. Our review also discovered an inconsistency in
methodology and a lack of defined criteria for outcomes that would be
considered toxicologically or pathologically significant. In addition, there
was a lack of transparency in the methods and results, which made comparisons
between the studies difficult. The evidence reviewed here demonstrates an
incomplete picture regarding the toxicity (and safety) of GM products consumed
by humans and animals. Therefore, each GM product should be assessed on
merit, with appropriate studies performed to indicate the level of safety
associated with them. Detailed guidelines should be developed which will allow
for the generation of comparable and reproducible studies. This will establish
a foundation for evidence-based guidelines, to better determine if GM food is
safe for human and animal consumption.
GM crops and the rat digestive
tract: A critical review. Environment International. December 2014. 73:
GMOs Under Scrutiny
Below are some highlights from an
article in Alliance for Natural Health:
2013, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) wrote to the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) and asked them to look into the review system being used to regulate
genetically modified crops–specifically, “to ensure that [it] fully reflects
current science.” This week, the GAO agreed to begin a review of how the USDA and
FDA look at the long-term safety of genetically engineered crops both in the
environment and in the food supply.
current scientific approval process for GMO crops is inadequate. First, there
is no legislation that is specific to GMOs. The Plant Pest Act gives USDA the
power to restrict the introduction of organisms that might harm plants. In
something of a stretch, USDA reasons that GMO crops qualify as “plant pests”
because historically, the DNA from natural plant pathogens and/or microbial material
were used in the genetic engineering of various plants. The Plant Pest Act also
gives USDA the authority to regulate noxious weeds, and therefore any
engineered crop that can become a noxious, hard-to-control weed can be
and vested interests, keep GMOs in use. In 1993, the FDA wrote in a document
that promoting the US biotech industry globally was their priority over
ensuring the genetic engineering processes are safe. Biotech industry leaders
take powerful political roles including:
Tester asked the GAO to study the applicability of the Coordinated Framework as
it applies to:
of Experimental Crops
Alliance for Natural Health. GMO
Approval Process FINALLY Being Scrutinized. October 28, 2014.
GMO Safety Study Announced
- The £15.6m project will involve using 6,000 rats to
test safety of GM crops
- Scientists from Europe, America and Russia will work on
- It has been called the largest inquiry into GM crops
and linked pesticides
- Project will involve tests on five generations of rats
over two or three years
- Experts hope it will give an answer about how safe GM
crops are to eat
- Previous studies found increased risk of cancer in rats
World’s largest inquiry into safety
of GM crops will use thousands of rats and cost £15.6million Daily Mail.
November 11, 2014.
More Information On the Study:
three arms (toxicity, carcinogenicity and multi-generational arms) of the
experiment will enable vital questions to be answered, such as:
- Is the GM food (or its associated pesticide) toxic to
organ systems over the long-term?
- Does the GM food (or its associated pesticide) cause
- Does the GM food (or its associated pesticide) reduce
fertility or cause birth defects?
- Is the mixture of chemicals present in Roundup
herbicide more or less toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate?
GMI Reporter. World’s Largest Ever
Study on GMO, Pesticide Safety Launched in London. Green Med Info. November 10,
Sources & Read More Here:
Gillam, C. GMO battles over
‘settled’ science spur new study of crops. Reuter’s. November 11, 2014.
Organic Consumers Association.
Reference list for GMO studies and open letter to EU:
GMO Moratorium in Maui, Labeling
Fails in Oregon and Colorado
initiatives to require labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients,
or GMOs, failed to pass Tuesday in Colorado and Oregon, after agribusiness
giants Monsanto, PepsiCo and Kraft spent millions to help defeat the measures.
But in a victory for food safety advocates, Hawaii’s Maui County passed one of
the strongest anti-GMO measures ever, despite the opposition outspending
supporters by a ratio of 87 to 1. The Maui GMO moratorium calls for a complete
suspension of the cultivation of GMO crops until studies conclusively prove
they are safe. Maui is often called “GMO Ground Zero” and the
moratorium that passed Tuesday could have national implications because
multinational seed producers, such as Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, use the
county to research and develop new seed varieties. Under the new measure,
farmers who knowingly cultivate GMOs could be penalized with a $50,000-per-day
fine. On Wednesday, Monsanto released a statement saying it plans to ask the
Maui court to declare the initiative “legally flawed” and not
enforceable. We are joined in Maui by Dr. Lorrin Pang, a public health official
who helped draft and submit Maui’s successful GMO moratorium initiative
Maui v. Monsanto: Hawaii County
Voters Defy Agri-Giant’s Spending to OK Landmark Ban on GMO Crops. Democracy
Now. November 6, 2014.
For me, evidence is piling up that
the safest and healthiest foods to consume are labeled as organic. Not
necessarily for the nutrient content, but for the absence of pesticides and
additional substances which haven’t been fully evaluated for safety.
So, this holiday season and into the new year, you may want to start converting your cupboard to organic foods. See if you
feel a difference in vitality and overall wellness! I look forward to hearing your experience.
Additional GMO Sources:
Outcomes in Correlation to 22
diseases tested: Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration
of health in the United States of America. Journal of Organic Systems, 9(2),
Differences in Nutrient Content:
Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in
Roundup Ready GM soybeans. Food Chemistry June 15, 2014: 153;