The Food Fight
There has been a lot of controversy about GMO (genetically modified organism) food in the media lately. As scientists find more evidence of the GMO health risks, we find ourselves faced with a choice. Do we demand that our food be labeled GMO or do we continue to take the risk of eating food that could be potentially hazardous to our health?
Recently France asked a health watchdog to find out about the health risks of genetically-modified corn. This came after a study of the effects of the GMO corn on rats led to cancer.
They said “Depending on the opinion released from ANSES (National Agency for Health Safety ), the French government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health,” they said in a joint statement. “(The measures) could go as far as invoking emergency suspension of imports of NK603 corn to Europe pending a re-examination of this product on the basis of enhanced assessment methods.”
What is NK603?
NK603 is a corn, also called maize, made by US agribusiness giant Monsanto.
It has been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. This enables farmers to douse fields with the weedkiller in a single spray, allowing substantial savings to the farmer.
Genetically modified (GM) crops are widely grown in North America, Brazil, and China but are a hot-button issue in Europe. The NK603- rat study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, says it is the first to look at rats over their normal lifespan of two years, in order to see the long term effects of GMO crops.
“For the first time ever, a GM organism and a herbicide have been evaluated for their long-term impact on health, and more thoroughly than by governments or the industry,” Seralini told AFP. “The results are alarming.”
The study they are basing their investigation on was led by French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in Normandy. The study found that rats fed with NK603 corn or exposed to Roundup without the corn, developed tumors.
Here are the results!
“Two hundred male and female rats were split into 10 groups of 10 animals. One was a “control” group which was given ordinary rat food that contained 33 percent non-GM corn, and plain water. Three groups were given ordinary rat food and water with increasing doses of Roundup, reflecting various concentrations of the herbicide in the food chain. The other six were fed rat food of which 11, 22 or 33 percent comprised NK603 corn, either treated or not with Roundup when the corn was grown.”
“The researchers found that NK603 and Roundup both caused similar damage to the rats’ health, whether they were consumed together or on their own. Premature deaths and sickness were concentrated especially among females. At the 14-month stage of experiment, no animals in the control groups showed any signs of cancer, but among females in the “treated” groups, tumors affected between 10 and 30 percent of the rodents.”
“By the beginning of the 24th month, 50-80 percent of female animals had developed tumors in all treated groups, with up to three tumors per animal, whereas only 30 percent of the controls were affected,” it said. Males which fell sick suffered liver damage, developed kidney and skin tumors and digestive problems.”
Studies are being conducted all over the globe on GMO crops. Russia has also recently released some of its own findings about GMO corn.
Experts in Russia conducted an experiment running the entire life span of rats. After two years they found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage. The same trials also found minuscule amounts of Roundup. Russia has suspended the import and use of American GM corn, suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage.
In the United States the food fight has just begun, with California leading the way. This November, voters face a food protection milestone with Proposition 37, a citizens initiate.
What will happen if Prop 37 is passed?
If passed, Proposition 37 will require labeling of a wide range of foods containing GMO. Some of the nation’s largest biotech and agribusiness companies have spent over $23 million dollars to fight the measure. “Consumers might be surprised to find out that brands hiding under natural and organic facades are in fact owned by multi-billion dollar corporations that are contributing bushel baskets of cash to defeating Proposition 37.” says Charlotte Vallaeys, director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornicopia Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting sustainable , organic, agriculture via research, investigation and education.
The California vote is crucial, because if passed, companies will find it more difficult to produce GMO labeled food for only one state. “Just as we observed in Europe where labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms is mandatory, we fully expect that when given a choice, consumers will choose organic or non-GMO products.” – Cornucopia Co-Director Mark A. Kastel.
The fight against GMO foods is a global one and it is time for us all to take action. The Non-GMO Project website is a great place to find companies who provide us with healthy Non-GMO food. Another great place to learn more is at Cornucopia.org where you can stay up to date on Prop 37.
It is time for us all to say “No to GMO”
Natural Awakenings Magazine www.natampa.com