By Robyn O’Brien
Genetically engineered foods have typically been hardwired to withstand increasing doses of crop chemicals.
Since the introduction of these foods fifteen years ago, there has been no mandatory testing of these crops, and FDA officials still will not say whether the department supports mandatory testing.
Can you imagine if cars were allowed onto the market this way and no mandatory pre-market safety testing was required?
According to a new report called “GMO Myths and Truth, an evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops” issued on June 17th by researchers Claire Robinson, Michael Antoniou and Dr. John Fagan, a former genetic engineer who in 1994 returned to the National Institutes of Health $614,000 in grant money due to concerns about the safety and ethics of the technology:
“Over 75 percent of all genetically modified crops are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with herbicide. This has led to the spread of herbicide-resistant superweeds and has resulted in massively increased exposure of farmers and communities to these toxic chemicals. Epidemiological studies suggest a link between herbicide use and birth defects and cancer. These findings fundamentally challenge the utility and safety of genetically modified crops…”
And while there are still no labels on these foods in the United States, despite the fact that over 40 countries around the world have labeled them including China and Russia, and no mandatory pre-market testing, the American Medical Association has stepped forward to say that mandatory testing should be required before these foods and ingredients are introduced onto the market.
“Recognizing the public’s interest in the safety of bioengineered foods, the new policy also supports mandatory FDA pre-market systemic safety assessments of these foods as a preventive measure to ensure the health of the public,” said Dr. Patrice Harris of the American Medical Association said in a statement.
The AMA isn’t the only group of individuals around the country with this concern. It is being echoed by consumers around the country, groups like the Just Label It Campaign, Truth in Labeling and others.
But none of these voices seem to be as poignant as the voice of a mother in Connecticut.
Diana Reeves lost her four year old son to cancer. As she struggled with this tragedy and the health conditions of her other children, she came to learn how contaminated our food supply has become with pesticides, artificial growth hormones and other substances, as well as how some of our food crops have been genetically engineered to withstand increasing doses of toxic weedkiller.
Human epidemiological studies have found an association between exposure to the chemicals used on our food crops, specifically those that have been genetically engineered to withstand them, and miscarriage, birth defects, neurological development problems, DNA damage and certain types of cancer.
And upon learning this, Diana helped launched a legislative initiative in Connecticut that called for the labeling of these ingredients from crops that had been genetically engineered to withstand routine dousing of these chemicals. Her goal was to give citizens an informed choice when it came to feeding their families. The legislation held tremendous promise but when the state of Connecticut was threatened with a lawsuit if it passed, the issue went quiet.
So Diana quickly launched an online petition calling for the labeling of these ingredients and a group called GMO Free USA which plans to pressure food manufacturers into revealing which of their products contain genetically engineered ingredients.
If you haven’t heard of genetically engineered ingredients, also known as “GMOs”, you are not alone. But Diana is determined to change that. She believes that every American, especially mothers dealing with children with health conditions and diseases like pediatric cancer, have a right to know whether or not their foods have been genetically engineered and hardwired to withstand increasing doses of chemicals.
And she’s not alone. Millions of Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the food supply, from the pharmaceutical drugs being used on the animals that we eat, to the chemicals that saturate our fruits and vegetables. And in the report, GMO Myths and Truths, the scientists give a list of 30 key points of concern, including everything from environmental issues to birth defects and cancer.
No one wants to hear this. Certainly not parents like Diana who lost her son to cancer or the countless other American families struggling with conditions like food allergies, miscarriages and autoimmune diseases. And while correlation is not causation, we are a nation of over 300 million eaters. And according to the American Cancer Society, 41% of us are expected to get cancer in our lifetimes.
With mounting scientific evidence pointing to the fact that the chemicals being used on these crops cause harm, as consumers, we have a right to know what we are eating in order to protect our health. We also have the right to know that no mandatory pre-market safety testing has been conducted on these foods, and we have the right to opt out.
It’s freedom of choice, one of our country’s founding values. And labels give us those rights.
Please note: This article was originally published on Prevention.com. The original article can be viewed here.
To learn how you can support Diana’s petition that calls for the labeling of genetically engineered foods, please join her efforts here.
For a comprehensive list of the 30 key points that the genetic engineers share about the safety of genetically engineered foods, including one that states, “No long-term toxicological testing of GMOs on animals or testing on humans is required by any regulatory agency in the world,” please visit GMO Myths and Truths, a report issued June 17, 2012.