Genetically Modified Foods

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1 Genetically Modified Foods

2 OMG! GMO!! What are GMO foods? Genetic material from one organism is put into another New genetic material gives the plant or animal abilities or characteristics it didn t have before For example Soybeans can be made to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup Spray the field with Roundup, everything but the soybeans are killed 50% of the world s soy is a genetically modified strain

3 Are You Eating GMO Foods? Yes, you probably are. According to the USDA (statistics from 2009) 93% of soy 93% of cotton 86% of corn crops grown in the U.S. were genetically modified Over 90% of canola grown is GMO There are commercially produced GM varieties of sugar beets, squash and Hawaiian Papaya. It is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average grocery store

4 Why are GMO foods so controversial? Genetically engineered foods are relatively new Little is known about long term environmental and health consequences Health experts point out that the percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years food allergies have skyrocketed disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Is it fair to say that GM foods are completely responsible? No. But it isfair to say that there are real concerns about how GMO foods impact the environment and our bodies

5 Arguments For GMOs GM plants which are insect-resistant significantly reduce the amount of pesticides applied by the farmer GM plants which are more drought tolerant can grow in areas with low water supplies and provide greater amounts of food for the people living there Nutrients in a particular plant can be increased, making the food more nutritious Shelf-lives can be extended, making foods taste better and last longer

6 Arguments Against GMO GMO plants can have a negative effect on the environment Pollen from GM plants can spread to other fields EXAMPLE: GM Corn that is toxic to insects was found to kill monarch butterflies that were feeding on corn-pollen covered milkweed plants GMO can introduce substances into our foods that have never been part of our diet; therefore, the effects in the body are unknown GM Corn was associated with liver and kidney damage in animals Material from GM corn (which causes the plant to resist damage to insects) can stay in the body, and has been found in the blood of pregnant women and unborn babies GMO food might not be healthy Cows are given rbgh(genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone) to increase milk supply Milk from cows treated with rbghhave more of a hormone (IGF-1) which has been linked to cancer

7 A Few More Arguments Against GMOs The benefits of the GMO may not last Weeds that are repeatedly exposed to Roundup eventually develop resistance, forcing the use of stronger and more dangerous chemicals New allergens can be introduced Example: a gene from Brazil nuts was introduced into soybeans; people with nut allergies reacted to the soybeans (This Project Was Stopped) Religious or ethical concerns What about animal DNA (pig) introduced into plants? Cross-breeding Pollen from GM crops can be dropped on surrounding weeds, making the next generation weeds resistant to insects and pesticides just like the GM parent plant (= Roundup Resistant Weeds!!)

8 Something to think about Do we really need GM food? Monsanto and other large companies believe that GM food is the answer to world hunger Also very profitable for them. But did you know? 30% of the food grown worldwide is not eaten failed crops stockpiles ruined by pests never delivered because of bad infrastructure or markets spoils or is thrown away after purchase. Americans are more wasteful than any other nation Every day, we throw away enough food to fill the Rose Bowl We waste 25-50% of all the food we produce Some experts believe the problem is not a failure to produce enough food, the problem is getting the food to the people who need it

9 How do you know if your foods contains GMO? Short answer: you don t In Europe, foods with GM ingredients must be labeled no such rule in the US In fact, the only commercial GM crop grown in the European Union is a strain of insect-resistant corn. Even this was recently banned in France, Austria, Germany, and 3 other countries. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to require labeling of genetically engineered foods Current rule says only need to be labeled if significantly different than the conventional food Additional proposed regulations would require more control of how GM foods are grown, transported, and incorporated into the food supply

10 Who Wants GM Foods Labeled? Almost all of us 91% of Americans favor labeling of GM Foods Poll conducted by the MellmanGroup in February 2012, for Just Label It, a coalition of organic famers and other concerned about GMO Foods To learn more about the status of Congressional legislation regarding GM foods visit the website of the Alliance for Natural Health at Google it, or go to my Quick Links on TerryTalksNutrition.com

11 Until there is a labeling law, what should I do if I don t want GM foods? Eat organic By definition, cannot contain GM ingredients Organic food is grown without synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, fertilizers or other synthetic or toxic substances free of artificial flavors or colors not irradiated or genetically modified Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones The UDSA Certified Organic seal is one way to find organic foods HOWEVER local produce may be grown following organic practices but not be certified. It pays to get to know your local farmers Farm to Fork!

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