Saturday, April 13, 2013

GMO Foods- Does It Matter?

Genetically modified foods (GMO) are plants and animals created through an experimental technology which merges DNA from different species. Often this is done to help grow bigger animals faster or grow stronger crops especially on an off season. Initially, this was began because the world population  was rapidly growing and there was a need to find a way to produce more food quickly. In fact, it is so big that if we simply try to sustain ourselves on traditional methods of growing food, then there is a chance that we may run out of food to feed the predicted 10 billion people in the world. 

In 1970, Norman Bourlag created the first genetically modified food, won the nobel peace prize and is said to have saved a billion lives. Sounds promising right? Well, maybe.

Recently, researchers in France fed rats two sets of food: one was GMO corn and the other was regular corn. The rats who ate the GMO corn died earlier, and in greater numbers. They also developed an increase rate of cancers. There are critics of this study who say there weren't enough rats, but it is the first study that actually looks at how GMO affects a life over their lifespan and it shows unfavorable results. Shouldn't that be enough to make us more cautious?

GMO was developed in the 1970's which means that my generation and my parents generation will be the first to see the full effects of food alterations. Our children will simply watch and know what their future holds. Remember, adverse reactions can begin as a child grows, but may not be seen until later in life. The sooner we begin to feed our children healthy foods, the better off they will be.

The older generations, in my opinion, seemed to be healthier and I believe this has a lot to do with how they ate as children and young adults. Many people of my family have lived well into their 80's and 90's with minimal health problems. My grandfather died early, but I believe that was due to lifestyle choices--- fast food, cigars, overweight, not exercising while my other grandfather died due to exposure to asbestos (lung cancer). In fact, my Granny developed diabetes shortly after processed foods became very popular. Coincidence? I think not.

My father has already lost a sister who was in her late 50's. My cousin died at 20 of an enlarged heart. Many of my parent's friends have passed away in their 50's and 60's. My father already developed cancer and, thankfully, beat it. It seems like their generation is sicker than the older generation!

Even my generation is seeing a decline in health. Granted, it is hard to say if it is the GMO products or the obesity epidemic... perhaps both? My brother is active, slightly overweight, and 42 years old. He has hypertension and the heart disease. My sister is a mess-- she is 40, overweight and she looks twenty years older than she is. In my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed with a heart condition and I am now having neurological changes.

The truth is that we don't know how bad GMO actually is. There has never been a long term study completed on humans because we are the study! We don't know what affects they will have on us, our parents, or our children. We have no idea how reversible the damage done is when we begin to eat healthy foods. We don't know how many of us will get cancer or heart disease because of the chemicals we eat and alterations to our foods. We simply just don't know what we are facing.

President Obama has recently signed a bill which basically states that our government will allow production of GMO products even though there is research stating it's potential dangers. They will not require labels, but the government will track the ill effects through our lifespans

That bill our president signed means that we are one big science experiment to the government!  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a science experiment! It is our right to know what goes into our bodies. Granted, organic foods are more expensive, but I would be willing to pay a little more for a non-GMO product than a GMO one. Give us the choice! 

Since 2012 the following companies have spent money to STOP the labeling of GMO products
  1. Pepsi has spent over 2 million 
  2. Monsanto has spent 7 million 
  3. Coca-cola has spent 1 million 
  4. Kraft has spent over 1 million 
  5. General Mills has spent over 1 million 
  6. Bayer has spent over 2 million 
  7. Depont De Nemours 4 million dollars 
Why would they spend all that money if they didn't have something to hide?

Many of these companies also produce Non-GMO versions of their products for other countries who demand better quality products. They simply don't do that for us because we let them!

Other companies that you may want to avoid as they are also spending money to prevent GMO labeling: 
  1. Abbott: Similac, Enfamil, pedialyte, PediaSure,
  2. Bimbo Bakery: Sara Lee, Arnold, Ball Park, 
  3. Campbell Company: Campbell Soups, Prego, Swanson, V8
  4. Cargill INC
  5. Coca-cola: Boca burger, Powerade, Monster, Capri-sun
  6. ConAgra Foods: Banquet, Chef Boyardee, egg beaters, healthy choice, Hunts, Snack Pack, Hebrew national, Slim Jim
  7. Del Monte Canned Fruit
  8. Dole Canned Fruit
  9. General Mills: Hamburger helper, bisquick, Better crocker, Yoplait, Fiber one, many cereals
  10. Godiva Chocolates 
  11. Heinz: Ketchup, TGI Fridays, Classico,
  12. Hershey 
  13. Hormel: Jenny-O, Spam, 
  14. Idahoan Foods: Instant potatoes, hashbrowns
  15. Smuckers: Dunkin Donuts, Hungry Jack, Pillsbury
  16. Kellogg: Eggo, many cereals, Townhouse Crackers, 
  17. Kraft: Cheese, A1 sauce, Cadbury, Crackle Barrel, Crystal Light, Honeymaid, Jello, Ritz, Triscuit, Wheat thins
  18. Land O Lakes: Dairy products
  19. Mars Food: Uncle Bens, Lots of candy, Wiska's Cat food, Pedigree Dog food
  20. McCormick: Herbs and seasonings, sauces and rubs
  21. Morton Salts
  22. Nestle: Carnation, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Tombstone..
  23. Ocean Spray drinks and fruit snacks
  24. Pepsi: Fritos, Gatorade, Tazo Tea, sun chips
  25. Pinnacle foods: Bird's Eye, Duncan Hines, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Buttersworth
  26. Sara Lee: Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farms, Sunbeam
  27. Sunny Delight drinks
Companies that are stating they are Non-GMO see complete list at Non-GMO shopping Guide:
  1. Dairy: Silk, 365, almond dream blue diamond, Coconut secret, Earth Balance, Eden, Field Day, Organic Valley, So Delicious, Soy Dream
  2. Baby Food: Earth's Best, Happy Baby, Happytot, Organic Baby
  3. Beverages: 365, Blue Diamond, Botan Bragg, Choice Organic Tea, Earth Balance, Harvest Bay,  Nutiva, Silk, Two LEaves Tea Company
  4. Breads, Baked Goods, Rice: Lundberg Family Farms (rice), 365, Annie's, Barbara's, Berlin Natural Bakery, Country Choice Organic, Emmy Organic, Gabbi's, Home Free, Lucy's, Tasty Brand, Smart Grain, Sweet Earth, Silver Hills, Plum Organics
  5. Chocolate, Candy, Sweetener: 365, Alter Eco, Annie's, Coconut Republic, Endangered Species Chocolate, Go Organic, Licious Organic, Lily's Sweet, Lundberg family Farm, Naked Coconut, Nativia, NOW foods, Sun cups, Sunridge farm, Tempt, Tree of Life
  6. Cereal: 365, Annie's, Arrowhead, Earth's Best, Country Choice, Field Day, Kashi, Lundberg Family Farm, Muesli Munch, Nature's Path, Nutivia, Sam Mills, Tasty Brand, Uncle Sam
If you want to stand up against GMO check out these websites. They often have bills you can sign electronically that they will send to the president or other organizations to voice our concerns.

Food Democracy Now
The Non-GMO project
Millions against Monsanto

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