Whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are of benefit to humanity or dangerous to our health is something that is becoming an increasingly important issue. The reason there is no definitive answer is that there are still relatively few human studies on how they impact our health in the long term, despite a growing number of animal studies that reveal serious health problems arising from the consumption of GMOs.
GMOs were initially developed by scientists in order to feed a hungry and growing planet, particularly for those poor countries whose population was suffering from starvation. The idea was that genetically modified crops would be able to produce more food, while reducing the need for more pesticide and herbicide use.
While on the surface GMOs may look the same as non-GMO foods and have similar nutritional value, their DNA is different. Genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, or animals are inserted into an organism’s DNA to alter its characteristics. This creates plants that are resistant to the herbicides used to destroy weeds and to enables them to produce their own poison to kill insects harmful to crops.
Though it may have originally been a good plan, increasing evidence is showing that both insects and weeds are developing a resistance to these poisons, which will now require even stronger herbicides and pesticides. If this trend continues, it may be the case that someday no pesticide or herbicide will be effective.
The biotechnology companies that engineered these crop seeds, such as Monsanto, claim that GMOs are safe. Though the toxins GMOs carry are supposed to be destroyed in the human digestive system, studies have cast doubt on this.
A recent study has found that complete genes may be transferred to our bloodstream via the food we eat (1).
Neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have done any long-term studies on the impact that GMOs have on human health and the environment.
It is estimated that at least 70% of the foods on supermarket shelves in the US contain at least some genetically engineered ingredients, including in soups, crackers, sodas, and condiments. And despite increasing calls to label foods containing GMOs, the FDA unfortunately still does not require that food labels state the presence or amount of genetically altered material in a food.
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) advised “physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid genetically modified foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning the dangers of genetically modified foods.”
They called for a moratorium on GMOs, encouraging long-term independent studies and labeling. They said, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food,” including immune problems, infertility, faster aging, insulin resistance and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They ended their statement by saying, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”
Update: Article Source: Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood
(2013) Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69805. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069805