Genetically modified foods (GMO or GM) have been in the spotlight for several years now but they have been around a lot longer that: since 1983 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food#History). The FDA has allowed GM foods to enter our production lines and most farmers have welcomed GM foods, seeds, and plants with open arms. These modified seeds made their lives a whole lot easier and seemingly more manageable. These seeds have special resistance to their counterpart pesticide--farmers could spray their fields to kill weeds/pests and leave their actual crop completely "unaffected" by these harmful chemicals. The plant harbors its own resistance to the pesticide. Some plants even furnish their own insecticide abilities thanks to genetic modification. The possibilities for GM foods does not stop there, and it most definitely has not.
I have always been uneasy about genetically modifying the genetic components of our food. Especially when I knew they did not have substantial longitudinal evidence to verify the safety of these procedures. The FDA and other companies said that GM foods were "safe" for consumption and that the body knew no different. Now that a decent amount of time has passed since our unwilling participation in the large-scale "study" by GM producers, etc, we finally have some scientific evidence that evaluates the "unintended effects" of GM foods.
Studies by Ashild Krogdahl from a Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NVH) found that rats fed on GM corn tended to weigh more than rats who ate non-GM feed. This effect was also observed to pass through the food line-- from fish who ate GM feed, and were then fed to the rats. Scientists even thought that the actual genes were not detectable in the stomach. New research by Krogdahl and with collaboration from "Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Australia," tells a different story: the genes can pass through the intestine and "is left in the blood, muscle and liver in large chunks so that they can be easily recognized." (O'Brien 2012). Great. So what does that mean? Are we going to be become little GM carriers too, resistant to all sorts of pesticides and insects? I would assume not likely, but "the biological significance of the uptake of genes...are not known" (Kraft 2012).
Do you think labeling GM foods in the U.S. would be important considering the scientific feedback we have thus far? Nearly every other country is labeling their GM ingredients and foods, except in the U.S. It's not required by law. But it should be. That way, those who wish to not engage in this type of consumption are fully informed of what they are eating. It is our bodies and we have every right to know what we are putting in them. Especially when governmental institutions are "approving" methodologies that, to me, have not received enough of a background check before it is used and implemented across the country. I encourage you to read Robyn O'Brien's article published in Prevention.
I challenge you to think about these studies, and conduct your own independent research. Keep an open mind, and try your best to understand the full situation and impact that one thing can have on another. The scary thought for me is that, after several years of consuming these products, we are just now finding scientific evidence for ties between GM foods and increased weight, transposable genes from the intestines to our blood and muscles, and finding that our bodies do respond on the molecular level to these products (Kraft 2012). Now, think about the potential larger-scale problems that can occur a little further down the road. If these GM foods become a major problem, will we still have 100% "pure" seeds? Or will they all be contaminated? It is already difficult for organic farmers to keep their products free of pesticides from the neighboring crops.
Stay tuned. I have a feeling a lot more research similar to that described above will be surfacing soon. Their "experiment" is finally getting results (from us, the consumers) and it's time for them to analyze the effects of what they have done. Hopefully it will be nothing significantly harmful, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one... Mother Nature is known for giving us a firm slap in the face whenever we try to steal her secrets or take advantage of her.
Kraft, Nina. "Rotter Fetere Av Genmat." Forskning.no. N.p., 11 July 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2012.
O'Brien, Robyn. Why Label Genetically Engineered Food? To Show "Evidence Of Harm."