Agriculture practices are believed to date back to 12,000 years ago, or maybe even more according to new studies. Since this time, alterations to seeds were done by natural processes like hybridization and cross-breeding.
Hybridization can be done intentionally by cross-breeding to different plants and creating a new plant that is more suitable for humans and agriculture; but It also happens unintentionally in nature, called cross-pollination, when the pollen of a plant lands (through wind or water) on a different plant, fertilizing it and creating a different species.
So a hybrid plant, even though cross-bred, has a naturally occurring genetic code. It’s just that, it was “crossed” with another genetic code to create a new species. A similar process has been used in dogs.
With Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), a new genetic code is created and it is not naturally occurring. With this bio- technique, foreign material has been added to our crops, like new genetic material, viral, pesticidal and antibiotic resistance genes. They have been created mainly to retard spoilage and fight off pests, which conveniently, increases production.
MONSANTO & OTHER BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANIES
How do I talk about GMO’s without mentioning Monsanto. Monsanto is the face of GMO’s. They are an agrochemical corporation responsible for the biggest production of GMO seeds in the world. Monsanto was the first company to genetically modify a plant, but started off by creating artificial food additives.
Other active companies dedicated to the engineering of GMO seed are DuPont, Dow, Syngenta and Bayer.
These companies produce mainly 4 types of crops in the USA (Corn, Cotton, Soybean and Canola) with 2 specific traits. They are herbicide tolerant and insect resistant.
Monsanto is one of the most controversial and hated companies to exist, and along with these other companies have played a major role in our food changes.
HOW DO THESE CHANGES AFFECT OUR HEALTH?
These new engineered genes have the potential of causing allergies, increase our resistance to antibiotics, depress our immune system and reduce the amount of nutrient in our food.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s a genetically engineered hormone called rbGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) created by Monsanto that is used in cows. The use of this hormone in cows increases the cow’s production of hormone IFH-1. According to Monsanto’s own figures, and then confirmed by studied conducted by Harvard Medical School and other institutions: Elevations of this hormone is linked to colon, prostate and breast cancer.
These hormones made cows terribly sick, even suffering from terrible mastitis. This contaminated the milk with pus, in return, making the milk spoil faster.
Thankfully, after so many devastating healthy impacts on human health and cows, the rbGH hormone was banned from most countries. Although it can still be out there.
According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom. Interestingly, GMO’s have been in our diets since mid-90’s.
How can GMO’s potentially cause allergies? Well, this biotech’s have crossed their boundaries by inserting genes from species totally unrelated to the species they’re trying to change.
DID YOU KNOW that bio-engineers have used HUMAN growth hormones on fish, pigs and other animals to make them grow faster and bigger? They have mixed specific fish genes with tomatoes to make them more resistant to colder temperature? So let’s say you’re allergic to fish. Guess what… You’ll also be allergic to this Genetically Modified tomato.
They can also provoke a whole new set of allergic reactions. When a genetic package is transferred from one cell to another unfamiliar plant, they respond differently to the proteins in the new host, creating a whole new set of allergic reactions. This has been proven over and over by studies.
Antibiotic resistance bacteria is a serious health issue right now. This occurs when an antibiotic loses is power to control or kill bacteria. Basically, the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic and continue to grow in its presence. So GMO’s came to exacerbate an already growing problem. How? These Bio-tech companies are responsible for inserting antibiotic resistant genes (like ampicillin, a widely used antibiotic in human health) in our food supply. So when we eat these GMO products, antibiotic genes enter our bodies.
These are just some of the health effects GMO’s can cause in our bodies. Genetically engineered plants have been linked to toxicity in the liver, it can weaken the immune system, cause digestive issues and gluten sensitivities.
Most countries who have banned GMO cultivations, still allow imports of GMO crops and products containing GMO ingredients into their country. So you can still be exposed to them through non-organic American products like sodas, juices, cookies, sauces, chips and cereals. These have GMO ingredients hidden under names like citric acid, maltodextrin, glucose, high fructose corn syrup and any corn and soy derived ingredients, just to name a few. That’s why reading labels and reading the ingredients is so important. Read more on how to avoid genetically modified ingredients here.
BUY ORGANIC, BUY NON-GMO, BUY LOCAL