Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms

Hey folks! I've got to get something off my chest. Today I want to talk about GMO's. What is a GMO you ask? A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods, and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. The term GMO is very close to the technically legal term, 'living modified organism' defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, "any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology").
This blog post only skims the surface of genetically engineered foods but will point you in the right direction if you want to know what evils are in the foods that are going into your body. 
The general principle of producing a GMO is to alter the genetic material of an organism's genome. This may involve mutating, deleting, or adding genetic material. When genetic material from a different species is added, the resulting DNA is called recombinant DNA and the organism is called a transgenic organism.

Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason. To do this artificially may require attaching the genes to a virus (YIKES!) or just physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host with a very small syringe, or with very small particles fired from a gene gun However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants,
 or the ability of  lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells. A lentivirus is any of a group of retroviruses producing illnesses characterized by a delay in the onset of symptoms after infection (HIV is a form of a lentivirus). 

Ok, so now that some background has been provided, I am going to throw a number at you. 70. If you go into a chain supermarket whether it is Publix, Kroger's, ACME, Pathmark, or Ralph's, 70% of the consumables in that supermarket contain GMO's. 70%. It's a staggering number! 

Soy (includes soybean oil, soy sauce, & soy lechtin), corn (includes corn syrup, corn starch, corn flour, & corn meal), Burbank Russet Potatoes,  sugar beets, canola (includes canola oil), radicchio, wheat, zucchini, & summer squash all are genetically modified vegetables. But it doesn't end there. Most commercially raised livestock and fowl are fed GMO grain as their diet. Mind blowing info my friends.

It's an awful lot to process in one serving but we are entitled to know what's going into our bodies. Currently there are no GMO labeling laws in the United States. California had Proposition 37 on the ballot this past November but  it failed to pass by a very slim margin. Pennsylvania currently has Senate Bill 653 on their calendar and it has a lot of support in the legislature & Maine's Governor Paul LePage has said he will sign L.D. 718 which is Maine's GMO labeling bill that has passed through the legislature. So you see there is hope on the horizon.

The last thing I would like to share with you is a fairly, though not complete list of American companies and products containing GMO's. Be forewarned, this list is staggering!

Never Buy-
Contains GMO's: 
Aunt Jemima, Aurora Foods, Balance Bar, Banquet, Best Foods, Betty Crocker, Birds Eye, Bisquick, Boca Burger, Cadbury/Sweppes, Calumet Baking Powder, Campbells, Capri Sun, Carnation, Celeste, Cheetos, Chef Boyardee, Chunky, Coca-Cola, Colombo, Con Agra, Country Time, Crisco, Crystal Light, Delicious, Del Monte, Dinty Moore, Dole, Doritos. Duncan Hines, Eggo Waffles, Famous Amos, Franco-American, Frappuccino, Frito Lay, Fruitopia, Gardenburger (unless organic), Gatorade, General Mills, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Graham Crackers, Green Giant, Hansen Beverage Company, Hawaiian Punch, Healthy Choice, Healthy Request, Heinz, Hellman’s, Hershey’s ,
HI-C, Holsum, Honey Maid, Hormel, Hostess, Hungry Jack, Hunts, Interstate Bakeries, Kashi, Kc Masterpiece, Keebler, Kellogg’s:, Kids Cuisine, Knorr, Kraft: ALL condiments and dressings, Kool-Aid, Land O’ Lakes, Lay’s Ruffles, Lean Cuisine, Libby’s, Life Saver, Lipton, Loma Lindia, Marie Callender’s, Mazola, Minute Maid, Morningstar Farms (unless organic line), Ms. Butterworths, Nabisco, Nature Valley, Near East, Nestea, Nestle, Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter, Ocean Spray, Old El Paso, Oreos, Ore-Ida, Orville Redenbacher, Pace, Pam, Parmalat, Pepperidge Farm, Pepsi, Peter Pan, Phillip Morris, Pillsbury, Pinnacle Foods, Pop Secret, Post, Power Bar, Preformed, Prego, Pringles, Procter and Gamble, Progresso Soups, Quaker, Ragu, Rice-Roni, Ritz, Rosetto Frozen Pasta, Simply Home, Skippy, Smart Ones, Smucker’s: unless labeled “Simply 100% Fruit”, Snack Wells, SoBe, Sorrento, Stagg, Stouffer’s, Sunny Delight, Swanson, Tang, Teddy Grahams, The Country’s Best Yoghurt, Toblerone, Tombstone Pizza, Tostitos, Totino’s, Triscuit, Tropicana, Uncle Ben’s, Unilever, V8, Voila, Wheat Thins

Can you say WOW??? Un-Freaking-Believable!!!!!

Be careful when making food purchases. Be an informed consumer, & become a label reader. The information, though suppressed by big agriculture, the federal government, & GMO giant Monsanto is out there. I'll be providing more info and links in the days & weeks to come. Stay healthy my friends.

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