What is GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This means a plant has been modified or bio-engineered by adding genes from other plants and organisms to increase the resistance to insects, herbicide, spoiling, or to improve flavour or nutrient value.
GMOs can be found practically everywhere; at least 80 percent of packaged goods in grocery stores contain GMO.
GMO & Infants:
A 2011 study found Bt-toxin in the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women who were tested and also in 80 percent of their unborn babies. Bt-toxin is a poison especially dangerous for infants whose blood-brain barrier designed to keep toxins out isn’t mature enough to keep toxins at bay.
Once out of the womb, children still can face risks from GM foods and products. Since kids have fast-growing and developing bodies, GM effects can occur rapidly. In GM feeding studies, young rats showed significant health damage to their immune systems and digestive function as well as displaying smaller brains, livers and cellular changes in their intestines in only 10 days, according to the Institute of Responsible Technology (IRT), a world leader in educating about GM foods and crops.
Likewise, children are also more susceptible to allergies; three to four times more so than adults are; and GM foods can boost allergic responses, since GM foods introduce foreign DNA. Children under the age of two are especially at risk to new allergens in the diet.
Genetically Modified Milk:
Milk and recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, is a genetically engineered hormone used to increase milk production in cows. Milk and other dairy products from cows treated with rBGH contain a larger amount of the hormone IGF-1, one of the highest risk factors associated with breast cancer and prostate cancer.
But that’s not all. Sam Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, writes, “rBGH and its digested products could be absorbed from milk into blood, particularly in infants, and produce hormonal and allergic effects.” He points out that rBGH’s “cell-stimulating growth factors could induce premature growth and breast stimulation in infants.”
He also states that genetically engineered hormones in cows could promote the production of “steroids and adrenaline-type stressor chemicals likely to contaminate milk and may be harmful, particularly to infants and young children.”
Antibiotic Resistance In Young Children:
Antibiotic resistance means that bacteria have changed and cannot be killed by the antibiotics. These bacteria are called drug-resistant bacteria. This means that some antibiotics may not work if your child needs them in the future. The antibiotic resistant genes in GM food can leave kids wide open for antibiotic resistance.
In addition to the risk of antibiotic resistance genes passing from genetically engineered food to bacteria in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, there is also concern about antibiotic resistance marker genes passing resistance to bacteria in the soil. These bacteria could then, in turn, transfer the resistance genes to other bacteria. Scientists have shown antibiotic resistance genes from genetically engineered tobacco can survive in soil for four months.
Dirty Dozen & Clean 15:
The Dirty Dozen is a phrase that refers to 12 “dirty” crops that farmers use the most pesticides on. Alternatively, the Clean Fifteen refers to fifteen crops that use the least amount of pesticides.
What is the Dirty Dozen?
The Dirty Dozen refers to twelve crops that feature the highest amounts of pesticide residue. Because these crops have the highest levels of contamination, the Environmental Working Group suggests shoppers buy these 12 crops organic when possible.
What makes these so bad?
These twelve crops contain the highest levels of pesticide residue and therefore, should be bought organic when possible. Strawberries, which top the list as having the highest levels of residue, can contain 22 different types of pesticide residues on just one sample. One-third of all non-organic strawberries contain 10 or more pesticide residues.
Spinach also makes the top of the list, coming in at the second spot. The pesticide report found that 97 percent of conventional spinach samples contain pesticide residues. In addition to pesticides, many spinach samples contained high concentrations of permethrin, a neurotoxin. Neurotoxins famously affect the nervous system, as they are destructive to nerve tissue. Other foods that contain neurotoxins include grilled meat, canned tomato sauce, butter-flavoured microwave popcorn, tuna, and peanut butter.
What is the Clean 15?
The Clean Fifteen refers to fifteen crops that have the lowest levels of pesticide contamination. Therefore, these fifteen crops do not need to be purchased organic.
Some of the most common GM foods are soy, corn, milk, sugar, zucchini, yellow squash and papaya.
Common Terms On The Packaging Labels Explained:
Natural: Food that contains no added artificial colours or flavours and that has been minimally processed, retaining its characteristics the way it was in its raw state.
Cage-Free: The animals have not been kept in cages; it does not imply that they have extra living space, outdoor time, or an exclusive diet.
Free-Range: Animals have not been kept in cages and they have had access to the outdoors at least 5 minutes per day; it does not imply anything about the actual amount of time spent outdoors or about the diet they have been fed.
Hormones Free: No hormones have been given to the animals.
Antibiotics Free: No antibiotics have been given to the animals.
Conventional: Food produced non-organically. Conventional products may have been grown with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and may be genetically modified.
Organic: The food must have been produced without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetic modification/bio engineering, antibiotics, or growth hormones. The farmers must also use practices that conserve ecological resources and maintain or improve land and water quality.
100% Organic: The food must be produced with all organic ingredients.
Made with Organic Ingredients: The food must be produced with at least 70% organic ingredients.
Pasture-Raised: This term is used when the animal spent the majority of its time outdoors and generally implies the animal had a more varied diet, but does not necessarily mean that the animal was raised organically.
Grass-Fed: To earn this certification, the animal must have eaten a 100% foraged diet, never been confined to a feedlot, never fed antibiotics or hormones.