Everyday Organic: Saying no to ‘GMO’
By MaryJane Butters
The Salt Lake Tribune
Every detail, from the perfume of enlivened soil to the sight of tiny green leaves sprouting toward the sun, appeals to my senses and are perfect little gifts. It’s all part of a cycle that has been circling throughout the eons, assuring the fruition of nature’s many gifts and making this planet a veritable paradise. I don’t need to know the science behind every little miracle; it’s enough that I can count on them happening, each in their own sweet time.
It’s my faith in Mother Nature’s wisdom that spurs a knee-jerk skepticism every time I hear news of technology tampering with a system that has been working wonders since the beginning of time. In particular, I am floored by the whole genetically modified food idea. It’s a concept that has crept into our kitchens and threatens to devour the concept of food as we know it. Pandora’s box had nothing on GMOs. If you’re still a little mystified by what it all really means, you’re not alone. That’s why I started digging up a different kind of dirt– the nitty-gritty on genetically modified foods and how they are affecting the way we eat.
What does GMO mean?
The initials GMO stand for “genetically modified organism.” It Advertisement Quantcast also goes by the alias GE, or “genetically engineered.” GMOs are the result of a process that takes crops from the field to the laboratory, where scientists splice them with things like animal genes and pesticides. Completely different than natural crossbreeding, genetic modification means that genes are actually removed from one species and inserted into another. For example, genes from an arctic flounder, which has “antifreeze” properties, may be spliced into a tomato to prevent frost damage. GM crops also are manufactured to produce their own pesticides. One such pesticide, the Bt toxin, kills many species of insect larvae indiscriminately, not just crop-damaging pests. Imagine the implications of mass insecticide: Without pollination by insects, most plants would be unable to reproduce at all.
On May 19 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods. They stated that “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation problems and changes in major organs. Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles reported, “I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it.”