Genetic engineering of our food supply poses grave risks, for the environment and for your health. Just how serious are those risks? We’ll let you decide…Many of the studies cited are performed in animal models so we cannot always be sure about transference to human health. However, using an animal model allows researchers to isolate the effect of consuming GMO foods in a way that cannot be replicated in humans as we are already consuming them in our food supply.
Genetically engineered/genetically modified foods have been associated with:
A Lack of Biodiversity
A healthy ecosystem is biodiverse – meaning it contains a variety of life forms working in harmony. GM plants can pass their traits onto wild relatives and the newly acquired traits can enable them to out-compete and eliminate other plant species, and ruin distant farmlands. Farming with genetically engineered seeds often encourages the use of a single crop variety, which can result in the permanent loss of other varieties.[i]
Soil and Crop Problems
Most GMOs are Roundup Ready but overtime pests grow resistant to it and new, stronger pesticides are required. All the extra herbicides deprive soil of carbon, making it less fertile and resilient and overtime this can deplete the world’s topsoil resources (and thus the world’s food supply). Also, herbicide resistant crops can cross-pollinate with weeds in the same family and create super-weeds that are completely resistant to herbicides, with the potential to ruin farmlands.
An Unhealthy Gut
An Australian study found that pigs fed GM grains experienced a measurable increase in severe inflammation levels in their stomachs.[ii] Another study found that rats fed GE foods developed stomach lesions. Yet another study on chicken fed GE foods containing glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) found that harmful bacteria were not affected by glyphosate but some of the beneficial bacteria were suppressed by it.[iii] If glyphosate affects humans’ gut bacteria similarly, it would mean that eating GM foods could contribute to a slew of health problems related to an unhealthy gut bacteria balance, including: autoimmune disorders, depression, allergies, and more.
Speaking of allergies, genetically modified foods may just worsen them. Known allergens can be higher in genetically modified foods than in their non-GM counterparts and modifying a plant can create whole new allergens. To make matters worse, a study on rats suggests that GE foods might reduce your protein-digesting enzymes, which allows proteins to stay longer in your gut and makes it more likely that an allergic reaction will take place.
GMOs May Transfer into Human Genes
Preliminary research suggests that genes that are inserted into genetically engineered crops may be able to transfer (horizontally) into humans through gut bacteria in the small intestines.[iv] Animal studies have found that these genes can then penetrate the intestinal walls and move into other organs, (although no human studies have confirmed this yet). This gene transference has the potential to cause both toxicity and a range of inflammatory diseases.
A Slew of Additional Health Problems
Preliminary animal-based research has linked GM foods to: stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, infertility, abnormal and potentially pre-cancerous cell growth in the intestines; liver and kidney lesions, partially atrophied livers, irritated kidneys, impaired blood cell development, misshaped cell structures in the liver, pancreas and testicles; less developed organs, higher blood sugar levels, inflamed lung tissue and increased death rate.[v]