Table of Contents
- Background of Study
- The Issue with GMOs
- How to Avoid the Consumption of GMO Food
A GMO or Genetically Modified Organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has remained modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
The products we consume everyday are affected by genetic modification. The number of GMO food substances increases every year and they become processed into a variety of everyday day use ingredients. These high risk ingredients are present in packages such as: amino acids alcohol, ascorbic acid, citric acid, food flavorings, lactic acid, yeast, vinegar and sucrose just to name a few of them.
GMO crops are grown around the world by approximately 18million farmers, most of them in developing countries. The United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India are example of countries growing GMO crops. The adolescents have a higher exposure to GMOs. They consume a large amount of products that are genetically engineered, and being young means they have weak systems and are more prone to allergic reactions.
The aim of this project is to prove that GMOs are not only bad for the environment but they also have a huge impact on the health of animals and mankind (from adults to babies), through food consumption. The aim will be proved through objectives of the research. By identifying possible health risks caused by GMO food, by identifying how the GMO consumption rate has gone up or down and why. Lastly, by discussing and analyzing health-risk-free farming technologies.
- Null hypothesis- There are no significant health risks associated with GMOs
- Alternative hypothesis- Significant health risks associated with GMOs do exist.
Background of Study
According to Smith (2018), children, being a part of the youth, consume a large amount of products that may be genetically modified. He continues to state that the continued use of GMO products on the youth as food additives and staple foods will cause great harm to their already weak immune system. An exposure to hormones or endocrine disruptors is likely to severely hinder normal development. This will be made worse by the fact that antibiotics will no longer work, due to antibiotics resistance genes found in most GMO foods.
The Issue with GMOs
When a person tried selling you an apple they “grew” in a laboratory—like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster—would you take it home and serve it to your family? It is highly likely you would not even dare. Especially if you have a non-Franken-apple, grown on a normal tree to eat and enjoy instead, even if you did think of buying it, wouldn’t you first want to know how the Franken-apple was made? Wouldn’t you want to learn about the potential health hazards? GMO foods are basically “Franken foods”- designed in a laboratory and manipulated at the genetic level to create traits not seen in nature. The problem is that these man-made foods have negative effects on human health, either from the primary trait, or from the secondary consequences of such foods.
GMOs Intensify Toxins in the Food We Consume
Monsanto is one of the top producers of GMO seeds—and also of the chemical glyphosate, which is the main component in their potent herbicide, Roundup. Monsanto genetically modifies seeds so that they become resistant to glyphosate, allowing farmers to literally bathe their crops in toxins, killing other unwanted plants but not the corn or soy plant.
While Roundup does not kill Monsanto’s seeds, it is dangerous to humans and the environment. Studies have found that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, is harmful to kidneys, livers and reproductive organs and can cause cancer. New investigations also suggest that Roundup negatively affects beneficial gut bacteria, which can lead to an abundance of diseases.
Monsanto would have us believe that Roundup stays on the plant and does not make it into the food chain and so the health risks are insignificant. However, glyphosate has been found in human urine and blood. It finds its way into fetal cells in pregnant women and the breast milk of new moms. We ingest it through polluted water and also through pesticide scums on the plants themselves.
Insect Killing Poisons in GMO Foods
The other central mutation in GMO seeds is the injection of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a soil bacterium that produces an insect-killing toxin in each cell of the plant. When you ingest a plant that is genetically different with Bt toxins, that toxin enters your system. It has constantly been found in fetuses and human plasma.
- Bt toxins prompt immune responses in all animals tested in the laboratory
- Farm workers exposed to Bt toxins are far more likely to suffer from allergic reactions than everyone else
- There is an upward consensus that Bt Toxins have led to thousands of livestock animals dying or becoming sterile.
GMOs Have an Inferior Nutritional Significance
On top of the health fears surrounding the chemicals in and on GMO plants, there is also a solid indication that GMOs have sub-par nutritional value when associated to their non-GMO counterparts. MomsAcrossAmerica got a hold of a report from the De Dell Seed Company that summarizes the nutritional differences between GMO vs non-GMO corn. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
- Calcium: GMO corn = 14 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 6,130 ppm – 437 times more
- Magnesium: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 113 ppm – 56 times more
- Manganese: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 14 ppm – 7 times more
GMO Foods Are Not Labelled Correctly
So, in short, a diet constructed on GMO crops can lead to poor nutrition, allergies, cancer, liver damage, hormone disruption, sterility and kidney diseases. Not to leave out all the health hazards linked to the modification of gut bacteria. Even when evidence mounts regarding GMO health risks, the government, the FDA and the EPA all stand on the side of Monsanto and other bio-tech firms—time and again they have resisted requiring testing, labeling or restricted production of GMO crops.
How to Avoid the Consumption of GMO Food
One definite approach to shun GMOs is to stick to an organic diet. Organic principles do not permit GMOs. Organic food used to be luxurious or hard to find, but now there is the Green Polka Dot Box, which transports healthy, inexpensive, non-GMO organic food straight to your door. Green Polka Dot Box is a non-GMO, organic food purchasing collectively that is building massive bargaining influence so that customers can get the maximum excellence of organic food at costs inferior to conventional food.
GMO Harmfulness: Worries and Scientific Scrutiny
After genetically modified foods were presented in the United States a few decades ago, people independently reported toxic effects caused by GMOs. One example is an anti-GMO advocacy group called the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), which reported that rats fed a diet containing a GMO potato had nearly every organ system badly affected after just ten days of feeding. The IRT stated that the toxicity was the consequence of genetic modification practices and not a definite case for that certain potato. They claimed the process of making the GMO caused it to be toxic and thus all GMOs were a great risk for toxicity.
Scientists across the U.S. and the rest of the world have pursued to thoroughly test the claims of the IRT and others to uncover any possible toxicity caused by GMOs. To this end, many different kinds of modifications in various crops have been tested, and the studies have found no evidence that GMOs cause organ toxicity or other adverse health effects. An example of this research is a study carried out on a type of GMO potato that was genetically modified to contain the bar gene. The product of the bar gene is an enzyme that can detoxify herbicides and thus safeguards the potato from herbicidal treatment.
In order to see if this GMO potato would have adverse effects on customer health like those claimed by the IRT, a group of scientists at the National Institute of Toxicological Research in Seoul, Korea fed rats diets containing either GMO potato or non-GMO potato. For each diet, they traced male and female rats. To cautiously examine the rats’ health, a histopathological examination of tissues and organs was conducted after the rats died. Histopathology is the examination of organs for disease at the microscopic level (think pathologist doing a biopsy). Histopathological examinations of the reproductive organs, liver, kidneys, and spleen showed no differences between GMO-eating and non-GMO-eating animals.
Three years earlier, a distinct group had found the same outcomes for a GMO tomato and a GMO sweet pepper. These researchers had divided rats into four diet groups: non-GMO tomato, GMO tomato, non-GMO sweet pepper, and GMO sweet pepper. They fed the rats over 7,000 times the average human daily intake of either GMO or non-GMO tomato or sweet pepper for 30 days and observed their overall health. Finally, they carried out histopathology and again found no differences in the stomach, liver, heart, kidney, spleen, or reproductive organs of GMO versus non-GMO fed rats. In spite of massive ingestion of GMO potato, tomato, or sweet pepper, these studies revealed no differences in the vitality or health of the animals, even at the microscopic level.
Experiments like these on humans would be completely unethical. Fortunately, prior to these studies years of work have demonstrated that rodents, like mice and rats, are suitable models for humans, meaning rodent responses to drugs, chemicals, and foods can predict human response. Rat nursing studies like these, in which rats are fed a potential toxic item and supervised for hostile effects, are considered both specific and sensitive for monitoring toxicity of foods and broadly used in the food regulation industry.
The test of time: GMOs and their effect on our offspring
Although scientists have been able to prove that GMOs are not toxic to the animals that eat them, as described above and elsewhere, what about side effects being distributed on to our next generations?
To detect whether GMO crops affect fertility or embryos during gestation, a group from South Dakota State University again turned to studies on rats. In this case, the rats were eating a type of GMO corn, more commonly known as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn, a microbe that produces insecticidal endotoxin and has been used as a relevant pesticide against insects since 1961. To allow corn to directly produce this endotoxin, scientists presented a gene from Bt into the genetic material (DNA) of corn.
To address the accumulation of toxicity over time, this group checked the GMO-eating rats not only for the lifetime of one generation, but also three additional generations. For each generation, they tracked the fertility of parents and linked the health of the embryos from parents that ate Bt corn to those with parents that did not. Toxic effects can rise in many places and in many ways, but some organs are more prone to damage than others, and monitoring them is a good readout for other difficult-to-see effects. Testes are considered a particularly sensitive organ for toxicity tests because of the high degree of cell divisions and thus high susceptibility to cellular or molecular toxins. To examine the effect of Bt corn on testicular health, the researchers tracked testicular growth in fetal, postnatal, pubertal, and adult rats for all four generations. The group found no change in testicular health or litter sizes in any generation. Likewise, ingestion by pregnant mothers had no effect on fetal, postnatal, pubertal, or adult testicular development of her offspring.
Other groups have monitored toxicity over time as well. For example, the group studying the bar GMO potato also wanted to observe if organs and reproductive health were sensitive to GMOs over long exposure time. To do this, they examined the fertility and gestation periods of GMO-eating mothers compared to non-GMO-eating mothers for five generations. They tracked animal body weight, bone, eye, and thymus development, and general delay. Like the studies on Bt corn, in all cases, they found no major differences between the GMO potato and non-GMO potato diets, signifying that there is no buildup or inheritance of toxicity, even over multiple generations.
Genetically Modified foods are a growing phenomenon and there are a lot of contradicting theories among them. Some say they are bad for health and some say they do not cause any harm whatsoever. As stated in my background of study, a group of researchers carried out experiments in order to validate GMOs by using rats since their genetic makeup is closest to the ones for humans and there was really no difference. Both organic and GM foods serve the same purpose. So, as stated by my null hypothesis, there are no significant or deadly health risks associated with GMOs it is now up to people to decide whether they will have a GM breakfast or Organic breakfast and continue with their lives normally.
However, the aim for this study was to portray GMO food as the bad guys and it failed so I reject the alternative hypothesis and accept the Null hypothesis.