Huffpost Green
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jeffrey Smith Headshot

Avoid Eating Genetically Engineered Foods

Posted: Updated:

This blog is part of a series that explores the themes and issues raised in Farmed and Dangerous, a 4-part satirical web series exploring issues related to the food system and industrial agriculture. If you're interested in joining the conversation, please contact us at FoodForThought@huffingtonpost.com.

Why are thousands of physicians advising patients to avoid eating GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) [1] and how did these high-risk foods get onto the market in the first place? The answers are disturbing, even shocking, but may help you get healthy and stay healthy.

Foods with added bacterial or viral genes were quietly slipped into your diet two decades ago. Using the excuse that GMOs weren't that much different, the FDA didn't require labels or even a single safety study from GMO makers like Monsanto. But a lawsuit forced the agency to release their files and the truth finally came out.

FDA scientists repeatedly warned that GMOs could create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems, and that rigorous safety testing was needed. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, was put in charge of FDA policy. (Taylor later became Monsanto's chief lobbyist, and has returned to FDA as US Food Czar.)

Can you trust Monsanto with your family's health? That company that told us that Agent Orange, DDT and PCBs were safe.

Now Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" crops are engineered to withstand their Roundup herbicide, which gets absorbed into the food and can't be washed off. A 2014 study found Roundup the most toxic of all herbicides and insecticides they tested. According to MIT scientist Stephanie Seneff, Roundup may be "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions." She co-authored a seminal paper linking it to including obesity, heart disease, inflammatory bowel, IBS, autism, allergies, MS, Parkinson's, depression, infertility, Alzheimer's and cancer.

Some GMOs, e.g. corn, have built-in pesticides that break open holes in the stomach of insects. A 2012 laboratory study confirmed that the toxin opens holes in human cells. And a Canadian study found both the toxin and Roundup in the blood of most pregnant women and their fetuses.

If you don't trust GMOs, you're not alone. According to a 2013 survey by Hartman Group, over 120 million Americans say they try to avoid them. That number has more than doubled since 2007. [2]

When people eliminate GMOs, they (and their physicians) often report more energy, weight loss, better digestion, reduced allergies and skin conditions, and relief from numerous chronic conditions. [3] Veterinarians, farmers and pet owners describe similar improvements with animals taken off GMOs. According to a research review by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, many of these disorders also afflict lab animals fed GMOs. We believe it is not a coincidence that the rise of these types of health issues in the US population parallels the use of GMOs and Roundup.

In addition to the health dangers, independent studies also show that GMOs don't increase yields, don't solve world hunger and massively increase herbicide use.

GMO advocates aggressively deny any evidence against them. According to Nature, a "large block of scientists [...] denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way." Tactics include threats, gag orders and termination.

The industry's own research, on the other hand, is widely criticized as "tobacco science," carefully designed to cover up problems. And just as a Monsanto man guided FDA policy, GMO review committees worldwide are often stacked with industry representatives who rubber stamp approvals or declare GMOs safe by ignoring data to the contrary.

Now FDA is considering approval of GMO salmon, as well as allowing GMO mosquitoes loose in the Florida Keys. In fact, countless GMO plants, animals, fish, insects and bacteria are being developed in labs around the world. Each could irreversibly contaminate the gene pool.

Before we replace nature, let's demand independent, comprehensive long-term safety studies. Until then, stop feeding us the products produced by this immature science.

-----

[1] At medical conferences where I spoke about the health risks of GMOs, I polled the audience asking practitioners to rate themselves how active they were, or planned to be, at prescribing non-GMO diets to patients.


[2] Hartman Group Sustainability 2013 presentation on consumer eating preferences. Survey showed 39% of Americans polled "deliberately avoid/reduce" GMOs in daily diet. In 2010, it was 25%. In 2007, about 17%.


[3] The Institute for Responsible Technology collects testimonials and case studies about health conditions that may be related to a GMO vs. non-GMO diet. Over many years we have interviewed doctors, nutritionists, and consumers, received numerous emails, and solicited comments from audiences at more 90 events. We also collect statement from farmers, pet owners, and veterinarians about impacts on animals.

Farmed and Dangerous was produced by Chipotle and production company Piro. Chipotle is the sponsor for the Food For Thought initiative.

From Our Partners