In my opinion, Genetically Engineered (GE) otherwise known as Genetically Modified (GM) food has not proven itself to be safe. We are all being used as human guinea pigs. Whether you agree or disagree with GM foods, it is safe to say that once these organisms are released into our environment, there is no turning back. It cannot be undone and we have no real way of knowing the chain of effects that will be caused by each new (Genetically Mofidied Organism) GMO.
Here is some information sourced from The True Food Network available at: http://www.truefood.org.au/questionsandanswers/
What is genetic engineering (GE)?
Also known as genetic modification or manipulation (GM), genetic engineering is a form of biotechnology that allows scientists to move genes between different species. Using various laboratory techniques, scientists can create life forms that could not occur naturally.
Genes are small lengths of DNA, the living blueprint of life found in the cells of all living things. Genetic engineers use viruses, bacteria and a device called a “gene gun” to randomly move genes from one organism into another.
In the genetic engineering of food, these techniques are used to make crop plants grow differently. The resulting life forms are often known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Currently, genetic engineering is mainly used to produce two types of crops.
- Herbicide-tolerant crops: these are genetically engineered to resist herbicide farmers spray on the crop to kill weeds and represent 80% of GE crops.
- Bt crops: these are genetically engineered to produce their own pesticide to kill certain insect pests and represent 20% of GE crops.
What are the health concerns?
Independent safety testing on the health impacts of food derived from GE crops is remarkably limited. Leading health bodies, such as the Public Health Association of Australia and the British Medical Association, have raised concerns about the safety of GE foods and called for stringent testing.
There are three chief concerns with GE food:
- the potential for increased levels of pesticide in our food;
- introduction of unfamiliar or unexpected proteins, toxins and allergins; and
- the use of antibiotic-resistance genes in GE plants.
We simply don’t know if GE food is safe to eat because there have been no long-term studies looking at the impacts of GE food on human health. Studies that have been done raise serious concerns. These studies include a peer-reviewed paper, published in 2007, which found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity in rats fed a variety of GE corn that has been approved for human consumption.
Companies responsible for GE crops, such as Monsanto and Bayer, also produce dangerous and harmful chemicals, many of which have been the subject of legal proceedings. There is good cause for concern when their crops enter the human food supply. The safety assessment of GE foods lacks the strict testing protocols used in the assessment of other novel substances, such as pharmaceutical products and food additives. Furthermore, our food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), relies solely on industry data in assessing the safety of GE food.
Which foods are currently genetically engineered?
In Australia, GE ingredients in food are derived from four main crops:
- imported corn (or maize) and soy; and
- local and imported canola and cottonseed products.
In 2008, GE canola was grown for the first time in NSW and Victoria, and may enter the food chain. Canola oil is used in a variety of processed foods, and canola meal can be fed to livestock such as chicken, pigs and dairy cattle.
Other GE ingredients may also be found in many essential processed foods such as bread, pastries, snack foods, baked goods, vegetable oils, margarine, flours, starches, sauces, fried foods, soy foods, lecith