Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?

Newsmax Magazine, Jan. 2010

Genetically modified foods have come to your local supermarket, even though most Americans don't want them and many believe they're dangerous. A CBS poll found that 53 percent of Americans wouldn't buy food they knew had been genetically modified. But here's the rub—there's no easy way to know which foods contain genetically modified ingredients.

Genetically modified foods are made by inserting genes from another species into a food's DNA. About 60 to 70 percent of products on grocery store shelves contain at least one genetically engineered element. These foods include corn, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, soybean, and canola.

The public is generally unaware when they purchase genetically modified foods (called GM or GMO, short for genetically modified organism) since manufacturers and producers aren't required to disclose the information on labels. The European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand require GMO foods to be labeled. And despite a CBS News poll that showed a majority of Americans want labeling, no such laws exist.

Many experts as well as concerned customers want to know if GMO foods are safe. A few troubling reports have been released. A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences revealed the parameters of 60 different biochemicals in rats. Rats fed genetically modified corn were compared to their parents who had been fed non-GM corn. The results clearly showed a difference between the two groups. Rats fed GM food had signs of liver and kidney problems. Effects were also found on the heart, adrenal glands, and spleen.

According to, a Russian study found that 55.6 percent of the newborns of female rats fed genetically engineered soy flour before, during, and after pregnancy, died within three weeks. Only 9 percent of the offspring of rats fed non-GM soy died. In addition, 36 percent of the rats in the GM-fed group were underweight, compared with only 6.7 percent of the control group. In another study, groups of rats were fed GM tomatoes for 28 days. Seven of 20 developed bleeding stomachs, and seven out of a group of 40 rats died within two weeks.

Opponents fear GM foods could:

• Trigger the emergence of new diseases due to the use of viruses and bacteria to modify some GM foods. These new diseases could be resistant to antibiotics.

• Raise the risk of developing cancer

• Trigger food allergies as a result of a food that causes allergies in some people being placed in another organism

• Harm the ecosystem by removing a pest that could be an important source of food for another animal

• Be toxic to an organism and lead to its extinction

Proponents of GM foods say benefits include:

• Higher crop yields to feed a hungry world

• Higher profits because GM foods need fewer herbicides and insecticides

• Longer shelf life

• The ability to withstand wider fluctuations in climate

• Overall higher levels of nutrients as well as the ability to be created with higher contents of specific nutrients

Another Option

If you'd rather not eat genetically modified foods, you can take the following steps to avoid them:

• Look for foods labeled "100 percent organic."

• Read fruit and vegetable numbers on the produce sticker. Five-digit numbers beginning with an eight mean it is a GM food. Five-digit numbers beginning with a nine indicate organic foods. Conventionally produced foods have numbers containing four digits.

• Hunt for products that are labeled GM-free.

• Buy from small, local farmers. Most GM foods come from large commercial farms.

• Avoid processed foods.

From: GMO: Seeds of Deception at

© 2010 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 15, 2010 7:49 AM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard



FDA Ignores Serious Abnormalities Found in GMO Frankenfish Salmon

(NaturalNews) At the recent hearings on the GMO salmon many are referring to as "Frankenfish", the FDA noted evidence of abnormalities that had been detected in the fish, including "increased frequency of skeletal malformations, increased prevalence of jaw erosions and multi-systemic inflammation". While such findings would seem to be cause for alarm, the FDA instead dismissed the abnormalities as being "within the range observed in rapid growth phenotypes of non-genetically engineered Atlantic salmon."

In other words, the abnormalities that were found in GMO salmon were consistent with those found in farmed salmon which had been genetically manipulated for accelerated growth through other means. Does comparing GMO salmon to factory farmed fish, instead of to salmon found in their natural environment, mean that GMO salmon are safe, or is it more an indictment of other factory farmed fish? The logic the FDA used is reminiscent of the studies that found MSG was safe because its side effects were not significantly worse than a control substance it was compared against. The control substance: Aspartame.

A closer look at farmed salmon does not paint a picture of healthy fish. For example in Chile, where most of our factory-farmed salmon come from, up to 80 percent of the salmon suffer from a condition called "screamer disease," where severe facial disfigurements lock their jaws permanently open.

In Norway, another major salmon exporter to the United States, "humpback" spinal compression deformities have been found in 70 percent of salmon farm operations. Twenty different types of spinal malformations have been repeatedly found in factory-farmed Atlantic salmon - abnormalities which have been linked to the physiological stress of intensive production.

GMO salmon would be the first transgenic farm animal approved for human consumption. Approval could open up a floodgate of other genetically engineered animals, and perhaps a Pandora's Box as well. What if, for example, huge cows were created which had to be delivered via Caesarian section? Already there are breeds of genetically defective "double-muscled" created cattle.

Approval of GMO salmon would also likely serve to further entrench unhealthy factory farm operations. Chickens have been bred for such rapid muscling to the extent that billions suffer in chronic pain every year from skeletal disorders, and many of them are unable to even walk.. Hens lay so many eggs that they risk prolapse (laying their own uterus). Up to a quarter of dairy cows are clinically lame and turkeys are so top-heavy that they are incapable of physically mating.

Such animals exist today as a result of genetic manipulation. The creation of transgenic farm animals with genes that are modified through biotechnology would give agribusiness additional tools to stress animals beyond natural biological limits at the expense of their health and welfare.

Ironically, the biotech company that invented the GMO Salmon has argued that the list of health disorders their fish suffer from could be seen as an advantage because "any escapees from containment would be less capable of surviving." According to the company, genetically modified fish grow at such a rate that the metabolic demands might make them less likely to create ecological havoc should they escape into the wild. However, previous studies have indicated just the opposite - finding instead that GMO salmon which escape in the wild would represent huge threats to native salmon populations.

Another major concern of GMO salmon and other organisms is the possibility of transgenic DNA transferring to humans, as we have already seen with genetically modified crops. Despite the concerns, the FDA is widely expected to ultimately approve the "Frankenfish" salmon, and to do so without requiring a GMO label.

from Natural News: