Are GMOs Safe?

Genetically modified foods (GMOs) have been popular in the news lately ever since California failed to pass Prop 37, which would have required the labeling of GMO ingredients on all products sold within the state. While California may be setting the stage for the discussion of future labeling of GMO foods in our country, currently there is no regulation anywhere in the United States requiring the disclosure of GMO ingredients to consumers. This is in contrast to countries such as those in Europe and South America, who highly regulate the cultivation and sale of genetically modified crops and often require the labeling of foods that contain GMO ingredients (1, 2). In America, unless you buy certified non-GMO food, there is no way to know if your food contains GMOs or not.

So why does it matter if our food contains GMOs? You may have heard from various media sources that genetically modified foods are perfectly safe and there is no evidence to suggest any long term risk from their consumption. On the contrary, there has been some evidence suggesting potential health risks caused by these foods; even scientists within the FDA itself have repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. (3, 4) With so much conflicting information, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. Are GMOs safe for human consumption, or not?

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What is Genetic Modification?

Genetic modification involves the transfer of genes from one species of plant or animal to another, using techniques that can cause mutations in the genome that may have unintended consequences for the crop’s safety. (5) The imprecise rearrangement of genes can create new proteins in these plants that may trigger allergies or promote disease. (6) Our immune systems often do not recognize these new proteins and may mount an immune attack against them if they enter our bloodstream intact. These unintended gene transfers, along with those that are intended, can lead to significant changes in gut and immune function, and may have long-term consequences that are not yet known to the scientific and medical communities.

In genetically modified corn and cotton, a gene from a bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted, which causes a pesticidal toxin to be produced in every cell of the plant. This Bt-toxin kills insects that eat the plant by breaking down its gut lining and killing the insect from septicemia caused by the ensuing blood infection. (7) While this toxin has not been proven to be toxic in this way for humans and other mammals, several recent studies have suggested this toxin could have effects on immune health, gut health, liver and kidney function, and fertility.

The potential dangers of GMOs

The gut is most susceptible to the potential dangers of GMO consumption. Bt toxin produced by GMO corn has been shown to significantly alter immune function in mice, and may cause disrupted immune function in the gut. (8, 9, 10) One study suggested that Bt toxin has toxic effects on human cells in vitro, causing them to die prematurely. (11) This could cause damage to gut endothelial cells if the toxicity is found to occur in vivo. The potential intestinal effects of GMO consumption go beyond Bt toxin. Some argue that gut bacteria are capable of acquiring DNA sequences from GM plants, which could lead to the development of antibiotic resistance in those microbes. (12) It’s not yet fully understood what proportion of the GM genes are able to be transferred to gut microbiota.

There have been effects of GM corn found on organs outside of the intestinal system as well. Analysis of Monsanto’s own research and independent research by a lab in France determined that mice and rats eating Bt-toxin producing corn sustained liver and kidney damage. (13, 14) Other harmful effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and hematopoietic system of these GM corn-fed rats. Bt toxin has also been demonstrated to reduce fertility in mice, with fewer offspring being produced than by mice fed on natural crops. (15) While these are small, preliminary studies, it’s worth investigating the effects GMOs can have on other organs besides the intestines.

Since the research is in its infancy, GMOs may have associated health risks that we do not fully understand. The organization known as The Institute for Responsible Technology has developed a list of potential hazards of GMO consumption, providing a list of references for each health risk discussed. They have amassed a great deal of support for their position that GMOs are dangerous, and much of their information comes from research studies, clinical experience from doctors, and anecdotal evidence from farmers and parents of children who thrived on a GMO-free diet. (Unfortunately, the website’s statements exaggerate the findings of several studies, so it’s best to be a critical thinker and take the information with a grain of salt.)

Why is there still controversy?

Recent reviews have proposed a different story when it comes to GMO safety, arguing that the bulk of the evidence demonstrates no health risks associated with GMO consumption. (16, 17, 18) These reviews found GMOs to be generally safe with no multigenerational effects, but also recommended that more research continue to be performed on the health effects of GMO consumption in mammals. It’s interesting to note, however, that the majority of the studies considered by these reviews had been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible for commercializing these GM plants; this conflict of interest could have an effect on the reporting of certain data. That said, there’s no denying the fact that independent critical reviews have so far found GMOs to be safe in food.

Unfortunately, credible research demonstrating the potential dangers of GMOs is not only sparse, it is also inconsistent. While many scientists argue that GMOs are unsafe for human consumption, there are many more scientists who suggest that the evidence to date has not found any significant health risks from ingesting GMOs. It’s impossible to tell at this point who has the right answer, and it’s unnerving that there is so much controversy over the safety of a food product that is present in 60 to 70 percent of processed foods found in grocery stores. (19)

A verdict on GMOs?

There hasn’t been nearly enough research performed on GMOs to make an informed decision on their safety. However, lack of proof is not proof against. While the available evidence is still mixed, it seems likely that genetically modified foods could have an effect on the immune response as well as the permeability of the gut. Whether or not this leads to an increase in disease is yet to be determined. However, if regular consumption of GMOs is able to cause leaky gut, it could play a role  in the recent dramatic rise in obesity, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune disease, and infertility in our country.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I think there is enough inconsistency in the available evidence to support the removal of GMOs from your diet. Fortunately, purchasing certified non-GMO or organic foods and eating a whole-foods or Paleo diet will allow you to steer clear of most GMO foods on the market. Until more legitimate research is conducted, I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid genetically modified foods as much as possible.

Have you or your family experienced a health improvement from cutting out GMOs? Tell me your story in the comments below!

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Peter says

    People in the United States and Canada are fortunate since even though organic meat is more costly than conventional meat, it is still affordable. Also, since the minimum wage in the US and Canada are US$7.25 and US$9.24 respectively, you could afford plenty of organic meat even if you work as a custodian for 8 to 10 hours.

    In Singapore, organic meat can only be purchased with the salary of a lawyer or physician. Since there is no minimum wage in Singapore, those who are stuck with blue-collar jobs will not have enough even to afford a paleolithic diet made up of conventional meat.

    500g (~1.10 lbs.) of organic beef mince in Singapore is SG$15.00 (US$12.00).

    Life is difficult.

  2. Ronald says

    If by chance, GMO is taking off the market. Repercussions in the economics will fall and unemployment will rise. To include costs of medicine, food, clothing and increase of polyester/synthetic clothing formed by processing crude oil. Small farms will decrease while government farms and large companies will benefit the profit. Small farms will be under and be in line at the unemployment. By taking GMO out. It will have side effects

    • Ronald says

      Some people need an education about pros and cons before going against something they do not fully understand. I can only recommend that USDA, FDA and sub governments to take company reviews under consideration when they conduct there on studies. Example. if a GMO company sends me a study of their crop(s) and I work for lets say USDA. I review it and do my study within USDA guidelines. Before making any decisions.

      • BobB says

        That is not true at all. Dont even attempt to justify the necessity of GMOs for production. The world did fine without GMOs and recent data states that organically grown products can be as productive as GMO tainted products.

        Besides that, the health consequences of GMOs far out weight any small additional gain in production (if any at all). Pesticides cause CANCER, and herbicides cause neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, etc. Is your health worth gambling on the promise of corporate propaganda? At least, label these GMO products so I or anyone can make a conscious choice.

        • Eric Bjerregaard says

          Golden rice will help alleviate deficiency problems. That is very close to a necessity. Besides that being a necessity is not morally or legally required to be in the market. t\The cosmetics industry, pro sports and jewelry industries are not necessary. Finally there are no more health risks with G.E. crops than any other method of production.

    • Rusti says

      You didn’t say whether the small farms were organic or not. I would think small organic farms will increase. And, there are larger organic farms already…like Earthbound. Not sure how they would decrease. Can you explain. I think it would be a good thing that all foods contain less toxic substances for everyone’s sake. That’s the main goal.

      • valleycat1 says

        Your comment raises the whole other debate as to whether organic growing practices result in food that is healthier than conventionally grown foods. Chemical use on conventional farms is highly regulated and proscribed, and due to the certifications and record keeping involved, not to mention the cost of the chemicals, these chemicals are not used indiscriminately. Many organic additives, on the other hand, are NOT monitored or regulated and can be as toxic or ‘hot’ as conventional ones.

        It amuses me that even in the original article here it is acknowledged that so far there have been no actual dangers identified that are traceable to the GMOs, yet since ‘unfortunately’ science has so far not supported his position, the author continues to advocate against them.

        • Rusti says

          I know personally the benefits of organic food, since going organic. That’s actually why I say anything. Sorry, I don’t buy the ridiculous accusation that organic is just as bad if not worse? then regular…please :)

          • Joe says

            It costs about twice as much to farm organic as it does with gmo crops. We have an average sized farm and recently started growing corn. Without the Bt trait in the corn, the only way to combat insects is with pesticides, which are toxic to humans who must apply them. So minus gmo crops, you either deal with increased pesticide use (increased cost, toxic chemicals), or share your ears of corn with insects, lowering quality as well as quantity of the corn. Lower quality and quantity produced leads to higher prices for consumers. Just thought I’d give a farmers point of view on this as many are not familiar with it. Also, much of the corn that is produced with gmo crops is used for animal feed as well as ethanol production. It is most usually not consumed directly by humans. Maybe these affects would not be passed onto humans? I don’t know. One thing is certain, more studies are necessary without a doubt.

            • Jesse says

              I’ve heard Bt corn has a lot less potential for aflatoxin contamination too (due to prevention of insect damage), which means less carcinogens in food. Do you know anything about that?

            • Rusti says

              Well, I rarely have corn now because it’s not available in organic, however, I know it is grown organically and have had it. Guess I’m just going without. A lot of processed foods are made from it where the buyer is not aware, and I do believe either way people should know what they’re getting in food as well. I’m not out to put regular farming “out of business”, just to consider there are safer ways. Increased cost…actually, my healthcare costs less not needing a doctor so often, so, it kind of balances out for me.

              • Rusti says

                Just to add, more people are willing to pay a little more so don’t let that stop you from growing organic. The market has grown very nicely.

          • Tonya says

            I totally agree with you. I found a huge improvement in health eating organic NON GMO. GMO’s are ALL about the money. Monsanto has a history of greasing the wheels at the FDA and fudging test results to look favorable. No way gmo better than natural!

      • Mary Jane Doe says

        GM plants are more economical (All safety issues aside) and produce bigger harvests that are not susceptible to drought, herborival insects, and common plant viruses, which would provide lower prices than a small, or large traditional organic farm.

        • Rusti says

          Safety issues asside? hmmm well, more economical or not, if your health suffers from lack of real nutrients, and pesticides now within the foods you eat, (where I suspect things like IBS, “leaky gut” and other digestive disorders come from) I believe you pay in the long-run (or short) physically and medically.

          • Eric Bjerregaard says

            See the U. of Perugia safety study, or the genera list. There are many g.e. safety studies. The EFSA has paid for many.

      • says

        Crops grown from GM seeds are cheaper, have a better rate of return (a larger crop), and are resistant to drought, certain herbavorial insects, and common diseases. This larger profit margin could possibly make traditional organic farming unprofitable to small, or large, organic farmers.

        • Eric Bjerregaard says

          Jane, organic farming need not be traditional. There is a need for thr recycling of organic waste produced by urban areas and livestock farming.

    • Herb says

      This seems out of context. The study suggests that people with inflammatory disease have higher levels of DNA fragments, but not that the DNA fragments cause the disease. It actually better suggests that the inflammatory bowel diseases allow for more uptake of larger DNA fragments, yet again a lot more work is needed to prove any of it.

    • Eric Bjerregaard says

      And the intake of organic foods correlates with the apparent increase in autism. Correlation does not indicate causation.

  3. Rusti says

    Hello all. Sherry that’s a great testimony against GMOs. Actually, I started going organic because it was home delivered in my area and convenient at the time. Just by chance I noticed a few things. My hands no longer get dry, itchy and actually bleed in the winter. (5 years now) My appetite craving changed…it was kind of strange at first, no longer having to think of food all day. I lost some weight and kept it off..though I still have more to lose. I’m not on any calorie, low-fat, low-carb diet and don’t want to be :p…my son’s allergies dissipated…no longer sneezing and congested all day..year round actually for him. He hardly has headaches anymore also. That’s just a few things that we noticed. Thank you for a very good article Chris Kresser.

  4. pasha says

    most of this “gmo is bad for you” is a kinda wrong. i have looked up these articles. you have to think scientific on this. you can’t just assume something. the experiment with the rats was not being tested properly. one, there weren’t enough rats to do that. two, gt is a naturally occurring chemical found in soils. its been tested many times and used in organic farms. all it does is kill insects from eating the plant. and its effects on humans cant be proven that thoroughly. everyone is different in there genetic make up. some just have that happen to them.

    • Sherry Gillum says

      Dear Pasha, please read my comment right above yours. I want to try to make what I said above clearer. In April of 2013, I discovered that I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease because my thyroglobulin antibodies were 567. I began a diet completely free of GMOs. A few months later my integrative MD told me I had increased intestinal permeability and I began to take an additional supplement, L-Glutamine. Seven months after finding out I had Hashimoto’s disease, in November of 2013, my thyroglobulin antibodies were 32.8. In brief … 567 in April … 7 months later … 32.8 in November. Although I thank God for healing me, there was nothing miraculous about the cure. I studied hours and hours and this excellent result is due to a logical application of what I learned. You mention that there is no proof of the negative effect of GMOs on the human body. I have been sick for 30 years and I could literally write a book on the negative effect of GMOs on the human body (as well as the negative effect of dental mercury, which began the assault on my body). Now I’m getting better and plan to go back to work for the first time in 30 years! Make no mistake. The discussion here is not “Are GMOs safe?” but rather “GMOs are not safe,” and I often weep when I see people sick and dying because they will not listen to warnings like these.

      • Josh says

        That’s interesting since GMOs werent largescale agriculture until the mid 90s… Less than 30 yrs ago. Good job with the anecdotal evidence and ‘science’ you did!

        • Rusti says

          But, mercury and pesticide farming has been around longer hasn’t it. Her problems just began. Actually, as did mine with asthma. Digestive problems mostly in the late 90’s for myself. People don’t make things up about their health for the health of it :)

  5. Sherry Gillum says

    On a GMO-free diet and after starting treatment for increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”), my Hashimoto’s Disease lab work improved dramatically.
    April 2013 QUEST DIAGNOSTICS
    TSH 2.74
    T4, FREE 1.5
    T3, FREE 2.7
    THYROGLOBULIN ANTIBODIES 567 H
    THYROID PEROXIDASE ANTIBODIES 15
    Oct 2013 LABCORP
    TSH 1.980
    Nov 2013 LABCORP
    THYROGLOBULIN ANTIBODIES 32.8 H
    THYROID PEROXIDASE ANTIBODIES 47 H
    I have had many amazing recoveries but I have multiple health issues, and still have a number of challenges. I wish I could afford further testing because I believe my 66 years of life and well documented medical history takes up where Seralini left off.

    • joshua says

      Your treatment is responsible for your recovery. Treatment has measurable effects which can be demonstrated by repeated experiments. Your diet change is an unaccounted for variable which may or may not have had an impact on your treatment, and without repeated measurable results from other experiments any scientist would not be able to substantiate your claim. Your claim as it stands is purely anecdotal. What we need is an independent third party study on GMO’s so that we may then have a better picture of how they affect our lives and the environment. Until we have an unbiased report, the bulk of ANY GMO argument is here-say.

  6. Donna says

    I try hard to stay away from unnatural and processed foods. I cook with mostly organic and home grown foods. I did buy some corn tortillas from the store that were not organic. My two daughters and I had stomach aches for the rest of the evening. I know it was the tortillas, because everything else we ate was organic and not different from our diet. I believe it was the tortillas made with GMO corn.

    • Rusti says

      Funny Donna, I am also totally organic. I did have a turkey deli sandwich on whole grain bread when out one day, thinking “ok, one time”, but the next morning…bp (I am guessing, not sure) but something was wrong…light headed…could hardly walk straight…that was the last time, have not felt that since. GMO or non-organic…not sure either. But, I play it safe staying organic.

  7. Rob says

    I don’t know if they are safe or not but I’m not going to stress out over it. The WHO seems to think they are safe.

    p.s. That’s the World Health Organization, not the rock band.

    • Tonya says

      Yeah…well look into runs that (W.H.O.) ..they want a massive depopulation of the planet. Best thing anyone can do for their health is do their own research, don’t depend on corporations organizations that are money driven to dictate what is or is not safe. WHO, CDC…these are corporations in the end…its all about the money or where they get the money from. We live in a very greedy age..

    • Herb says

      Is this proof of something. It is a very thorough review article that was wonderfully written to pull together a lot of science. Yet, the links to Glyphosate are mostly hypothetical links drawn by the authors of what may happen based upon work that has been done, but not connected. The work to prove the hypothesis is not included in the review.

  8. Herb says

    This seems to be a bit misleading. You stated that “the majority of the studies considered by these reviews had been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible for commercializing these GM plants; this conflict of interest could have an effect on the reporting of certain data.” I was assuming this statement was backed up by the references included (i.e. #16,17 and 18). Yet, each of these papers comes from university research labs and has been published in peer reviewed journals. You cannot possible think that all the researchers, as well as the reviewers are paid representatives of the GMO companies.

  9. Doreen says

    The new GMO wheat, has escaped from Monsanto test plots. There is little to no tracking and noone is supposed to know where they are.. all hush hush… well, that wheat has the possibility of shutting down our RNA and rendering apoptosis of cancer cells… null and void. I have read that once it is in your body.. it stays and continues to stop our main defense against cancer.

    Nice going Monsanto… if this GMO reaches full acceptance and with our non-protective FDA, it likely will… the cancer rate, in a few years will soar. And, most folks will not know why… but then Fracking Chemicals will be doing the same thing… increasing cancer rates… Big companies are destroying this earth…. be aware. No one lives long without clean pure water. Eat organic when you can!

    • Eric Bjerregaard says

      No, The wheat did not escape. It was planted . No one has been able the prove who did it. I submit managers of a a g.e. seed company would not be stupid enough to allow this as the resulting publicity would be bad and nothing positive could come out of it.

  10. Aldan says

    After years of digestive misery (living in the bathroom) I finally had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with colitis. I cut nearly everything out of my diet, medications, grains, beans, dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee (that was the hardest) and have found that if I eat organic veggies, eggs and some chicken (I have a huge garden and chickens) that I can actually gain weight (I’m usually below the BMI for my height). I think it is interesting that Bt kills insects by tearing up their gut and that is what I was diagnosed with – microscopic tears in my gut. The last time I tried to eat GMO/not organic food (friends house) I wound up in the emergency room vomiting blood etc (doc said it wasn’t food poisoning). Rather than spend $1700/month on (dangerous) colitis meds it is much cheaper for me to grow/eat nothing but organic.

  11. Bailey Vaillancourt says

    My boyfriend and I recently started a 100% GMO-Free Diet and we are LOVING it!! We both feel so much healthier, more energetic, and stronger. We’ve noticed a drastic difference in the quality and taste of non-gmo food, as well as the appearance of the food. Everything tastes REAL, like how nature intended it to. I’ve battled stomach issues for over 10 years, with doctors constantly telling me nothing was wrong. I couldn’t eat anything without having severe stomach pain and bloating, which distrupted every part of my life. Now, while enjoying a gmo-free diet, all those symptoms are virtually gone. I can enjoy food now without worrying about bloating up like a balloon, and I know the food I’m eating is actually doing good things for my body. No more toxins killing us from the inside out. I encourage everyone to avoid gmo foods at all costs, go to nongmoproject.org for a list of foods that are 100% gmo-free! :)

  12. Jean says

    Paying a little more for organic is still worth the price of ones health. I have grade 3 anaplastic meningioma and will beat this by eating healthy NON GMO foods. I get my vegs from a local organic farm, as well as growing my own. If its too much grow your own, get with a co-op , or form one if one is not available.
    I was already eating healthy or so I thought, but now more so. I read all the labels and only buy non gmo’s. I’m not chancing my kids health, life or whats left of mine, gambling on that. But remember one day you might have to explain to them why they are sick all the time or have a birth defect. You can start out with something like,”Years ago I didn’t stand up and fight against companys like Monsanto, so we all became guinia pigs.

    • Rusti says

      Good for you Jean! I mentioned above that my health and my family’s health has been better going organic… I save $ not having to buy all the junk processed foods too. I make my own everything (even caramel popcorn) and actually, save a little…in health costs too. Amazing the benefits.

  13. Chris says

    Well ya’ know, here’s what I think >
    Might GMO’s give you cancer ? Sure, just as a million other things might. But if GMO’s were so terribly bad, we’d have at least just a little more solid scientific evidence to back it.

    On the other hand, is their anybody here who believes it is healthy to eat too many daily cals / carbs, and not exercise enough ? I mean “even if your that person” you know what you should be doing, right ?
    Yet 2/3rds of the American public is obese ! Some of them also drink excessively, and / or smoke, also.

    And then, they go to the grocery store, and buy something stamped “organic” or GMO free for twice the price, because “that” will keep them healthy :) Ha ! Okay….

    In a nutshell, people are paying far too much attention to the vague and mysterious possibilities of cancer, or other devastating diseases, from GMO’s and non-organic foods…… but many of them are in horrible shape, because they ignore the stuff that they actually could take control of > diet and exercise !

    BTW, I was obese most of my life. I’ve also had Fibromyalgia for 26 years. I’m 48. + severe IBS.
    42 months ago, I changed everything from the bottom to the top. I went from suffering like only a person with Fibro or IBS would know, to a health and fitness freak :) I’ve lost 130 lbs of fat, and put on 45 lbs of lean muscle, but that < is the small stuff. I've knocked my Fibro down by a full 95%, and put my IBS into complete remission.
    I literally feel like a different person.

    My diet is about 80% Paleo, with a small, very regulated portion of condensed carbs…. oatmeal :)

    So you know, "by accident" I probably have cut my GMO's way down from the old days, as I hardly eat anything packaged.
    On the other hand, I completely avoid anything labled organic. I'm not convinced the stuff not labled organic is bad for me, and I'm .

  14. Chris says

    I have been physically ill for 8 years. I know it’s because of GMO. I will never be able to prove it and not knowing which gmo. I shall be sick forever. Please help change corporate minds. No company should have this much power.

    • Bailey Vaillancourt says

      It’s definitely because of GMO’s! The government is purposely putting GMO’s in every food virtually, to make us sick. Go to nongmoproject.org for a list of 100% non-gmo foods, third party tested :) Fight against it!

  15. Julissa says

    Hello. I’m doing a project on GMO’s. If anyone can help that’d be great!
    Why is it good? Why is it bad? What does it have to do with DNA?
    If anyone can help please email me (:

  16. Rich says

    You can debate what YOU want to support and eat, but an informed public is a wise public. We want labeling of products so we can make OUR choice. As the people from countires other then the US have mentioned, when they made THEIR choice, their health got better. That is proof enough for me.

  17. Andrea says

    Per the article on how Bt works, they state the conditions must be just right. “The toxic crystal Bt protein in commercial formulations is only effective when eaten by insects with a specific (usually alkaline) gut pH and the specific gut membrane structures required to bind the toxin. Not only must the insect have the correct physiology and be at a susceptible stage of development, but the bacterium must be eaten in sufficient quantity.” So, are our guts alkaline and do we have the binding receptors?

  18. Flory says

    Hi Chris,
    I developed Autoimmune Gastritis which cause stomach cancer and had 1/3 of my stomach removed. I believe that it is directly connected to GMO’s. When it was diagnosed, I was already gluten free for over a year. If I eat a tortilla chip made with “regular” corn, I bloat up severely and feel like I have barb wire in my intestines. Same happens with 1 bite of bread, even though I tested negative for celliac. If I eat organic corn, I still bloat. Only organic, NON-GMO corn doesn’t give me symptoms. Thus, I concluded that GMO’s are the culprits. However, I have serious problems finding which foods don’t contain them. Still hoping we will wake up and start labeling. It might just save my life! …and other’s!

    • Bailey Vaillancourt says

      Hi there,

      I recently went on a 100% non gmo diet for this reason as well. I am having a difficult time finding non gmo veggies as well, and I dont want to trust organic. Were you able to find a place that sells non gmo vegetables?? I live in Ontario, Canada

      Thank you

    • joshua cannon says

      There is no such thing as non-GMO corn. There is teosinte, but literally no farmer produces this for human consumption. The same is true for rice.

  19. greg says

    Didn’t expect you to pull so many punches, and was especially surprised you never mentioned glyphosate (Round-Up), the toxic herbicide farmers are drenching GM plants with in ever higher doses. Not only is it proven to be highly toxic, recent evidence suggests it accumulates in soils and renders them unusable for over a decade, and is even appearing in detectable levels regularly in rain.

    You also didn’t go into Monsanto and DOW’s predatory practices of suing farmer’s for patent infringement when their crops are inadvertently contaminated with GM pollen from adjacent fields, or for their blatant corruption of the USDA, FDA and the Supreme Court. And I would expect any article about the hazards of GM to include the millions of livestock that have died in India after consuming GM fodder, and the subsequent suicides of tens of thousands of their herders and farmers.

    I liked seeing you call out Jeff Smith for exaggerating; He does tend to go over the top on his claims from time to time and it’s annoying. But overall, Dr. Oz could have written this article. I expected more from you.

    • greg says

      A timely list of GMO and Monsanto quotes to further enlighten (taken from Grow Food, Not Lawns Facebook feed):

      “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications. “Playing God in the Garden” New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998.

      “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety” – FDA, “Statement of Pol…icy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties” (GMO Policy), Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992), p. 229

      “What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain” – Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector 1996, in the Farm Journal. Quoted in: Flint J. (1998) Agricultural industry giants moving towards genetic monopolism. Telepolis, Heise.

      “People will have Roundup Ready soya whether they like it or not” – Ann Foster, spokesperson for Monsanto in Britian, as quoted in The Nation magazine from article “The Politics of Food” [49] by Maria Margaronis December 27, 1999 issue.

      “‘It’s important for countries around the world to adopt a uniform standard’ of acceptable levels of contamination” – Biotechnology Industry Association’s Lisa Dry [50]

      “The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender” – Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International, in the Toronto Star, January 9 2001.

      “The total acreage devoted to GM crops around the world is expanding. That may be what eventually brings the debate to an end. It’s a hell of a thing to say that the way we win is don’t give the consumer a choice, but that might be it” – Dale Adolphe, biotech booster and President of the Canadian Seed Growers Association and previous president of the Canola Council of Canada (Western Producer, 4/4/02).

      “I recognized my two selves: a crusading idealist and a cold, granitic believer in the law of the jungle” – Edgar Monsanto Queeny, Monsanto chairman, 1943-63, “The Spirit of Enterprise”, 1934.

      “Genetically engineered food constitutes a massive experiment on the planet, with potentially devastating effects on human health and the global environment” – Adam Kapp, Columnist for the Penn State Digital Collegian, Nov. 7, 2002.

      “Stark denials in the face of documented evidence to the contrary have been corporate policy at Monsanto and GE for decades” – Eric Francis author of Conspiracy of Silence [51]

      “For years, these guys said PCBs were safe, too. But there’s obviously a corporate culture of deceiving the public” – Mike Casey of the Environmental Working Group

      “The thing I’m most proud of is the industry’s impeccable environmental and safety record” – Robert Fraley, Monsanto’s technology chief [52]

      “That is what drives a lot of people crazy. The scope of the fraud, if you will–I know that’s a harsh word–the scope of the fraud that’s being sold to the American public about this technology is almost unprecedented” – Interview with Dr. Charles Benbrook on GMOs

      “I’m not a religious person, but I think there’s something just inherently wrong with this-that they can take different species and combine ‘em the way they wanna combine ‘em” – Phil Geertson, who runs a small seed business in Idaho [53].

      “I have the feeling that science has transgressed a barrier that should have remained inviolate” – Dr Erwin Chargaff, biochemist and the father of molecular biology in his autobiography

      “Genetic Power’s the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid who’s found his dad’s gun…. and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunch box, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it” Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park

    • David McBride says

      Here is something I recently posted on facebook.
      Recent chats with human health focused farmers turned me on to the danger of Roundup in the fact that residues are allowed on grains that we eat, and for the foods given to the animals we eat. These residues likely upset our gut flora and in the long term lead to major diseases. One farmer told me that they spray wheat with Round up just so it dies and can be harvested earlier.

      And here is some info from my friend at Range West Grass Fed Beef:

      “GMO feeds or hay since they have residues of weed killer, glyphosate (Roundup). EPA allows up to 400ppm in grain and hay that is fed to cattle. Glyphosate is a antibiotic which kills beneficial microbes in soil and digestive tracts of animals and humans. Disbiosis of gut flora is believed by many researchers to be a cause of brain health disorders. We seem to have a surge of these diseases, including neurological diseases. ALS, Huntingtons, Alzheimers, Autism are diseases without conventional cures. Strategies to avoid them are promoted by many who study this field. Glyphosate is also a chelator (ties up) essential minerals. According to Dr. Stefanie Seneff, the tie-up of sulfur, which is needed to transport cholesterol, is a major cause of brain/neuron damage. When it comes to brain health, ample precaution is advisable.”

      Scary.

  20. says

    Love reading your posts, and I am wondering your take about the way some companies are processing some of the foods like soy to make them “acceptable” for those who are informed about wanting to avoid GMO’s and the estrogenic effect of soy.

    I recently came across a soy protein supplement that states the following about its product:
    “includes non-GMO soy protein (not genetically modified or bio-engineered). The soy was specially processed to remove the isoflavones, to alleviate concerns about impacting estrogen
    levels. We use soy because it is a complete protein, and is heart healthy too.”

    I traditionally stick to plant based protein supplements if I use them, but avoid soy due to all the issues it creates hormonally.
    Any Thoughts?

  21. says

    Love the article Chris. Thank you for bringing light to a much needed topic. So many great comments on the board as well. There is much study, but you are correct most of them are biased. In doing my own research I was very surprised to see there is in fact no internal watchdog for these practices. FDA says it’s an environmental concern, EPA says it’s an agricultural matter and the USDA says it’s a FDA concern. Hmmm. What’s wrong with this picture. A few things to point out is 1. The environmental impact on the birds and animals that eat the bugs that died from the pesticide. That is having a serious impact on our environment. Also the creation of “superweeds” and 2. For me very important is the residual impact of the pesticide, fungicide and herbicide left in the ground that does not become inactive for I have no idea how long. To think that potatoes or foods grown in this media and put on the shelves in grocery stores and we have no idea is inexcusable. One day when the “fertilizer” hits the fan, who will be accountable?

  22. john says

    I have just read the wheat belly by William Davis who strongly believes that the hybridization of wheat that has occurred over the past 40+ years is very detrimental to the health of the human body. If GMO’s are unleashed into our food I don’t think the human race will survive for very much longer.

  23. says

    Hi, Chris,

    Not a conspiracy theorist, you say?! Well, my friend, you are about to be in the minority! The hundredth monkey is about to freaking pop!

    In addition to being a patient and loyal, long-time reader of your site and listener of RHR, I am a proud conspiracy theorist. I lost my political virginity about one year ago when my daily migraines forced me out of school in my senior year of biochem/biophysics, and so I started a blog to help others do the same more quickly, gently and easily. Nearly 90 articles now!

    Let’s start with the easy stuff…

    Learn about Bohemian Grove:
    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/weaving-spiders-come-not-here.html

    learn about the Bilderberg Group! “Hil-dawg! Hil-dawg! Hil-dawg!” (cheering for Hilary Clinton, a member)

    Learn about soy prisons and undeniably INTENTIONAL chemical castration (this article links to your article, “The Soy Ploy”):
    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-soy-conspiracy.html

    Learn about Rick Simpson oil (herbal, like your milk thistle/alpha lipoic acid/LDN/selenium cancer treatment) and (Stanislaw) Burzynski’s antineoplaston therapy, two excellent, non-toxic, certifiably government-suppressed chemotherapy alternatives:

    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/marinations-volume-iii-phoenix-tears.html
    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/dr-oz-approves-of-burzynski.html

    If you don’t believe in chemtrails, you really just haven’t been watching the sky carefully enough. I actually saw my very first GRAY one on Tuesday, alongside ordinary milky-colored chemtrails – obviously a different substance than the others. Please see the documentaries “What In The World Are They Spraying?” and “Why In The World Are They Spraying?” by Michael Murphy. They are relevant to the GMO issue. I do NOT consider Mr. Murphy’s films to be physical proof of the chemtrails phenomenon, so I plan to release a documentary of my own in 2013 that will employ a (peaceful) drone to fly into a local Corvallis chemtrail and scoop up a chemical sample for analysis! I do, however, consider his films to be some of the best out there so far.

    If you still doubt the chemtrails phenomenon, I suggest you learn a bit of obscure history – there is historical precedent for aerosol spraying of much more harmful substances than Mr. Murphy alleges in his films. Cold War zinc cadmium sulfide (with possible radionuclide) spraying:

    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/cold-war-zncds-spraying-over-usa-and-uk.html

    Also, don’t forget Project Popeye – the secret mission to modify the weather in the Vietnam War and make it rain to wash out the Ho Chi Minh trail! The American pilots must have sung, “Wash out the Ho Chi Minh trail…wash out the Ho Chi Minh trail…” (to the tune of “Follow The Yellow Brick Road”)

    If you think World Trade Center 7 was brought down by fire, collapsing like a house of cards into its own footprint in less than 7 seconds, then I am quite concerned for your health and skepticism, Chris Kresser!!! :O What? Haven’t heard of WTC 7? Only heard of WTC 1 and 2? Check out “Blueprint For Truth” by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. It’s a good start.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQgVCj7q49o

    To quote Jesse Ventura, “EVERY war begins with a false flag operation.” The Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie.

    Have you heard about the Anti-Vaccine Surveillance and Alert System, funded by Gates Foundation? Do you think you are on the list because of your website? I’m sure I am!

    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/vaccine-drones-thanks-george.html

    Conspiracy theorizing, like true Alchemy, is a noble Art, and will lead to the demise of the Surveillance Orwellian World State New Order Technocorporatocracy (SOWSNOT) Agenda!

    Finally, while I do believe in many conspiracy theories, particularly the one known to many as The Grand Conspiracy (the New World Order), I do not wish to inspire fear in you, your readers, or anyone. Many of the conspiracy theory websites out there are sort of like “fear porn,” to borrow a term from David Wilcock. That is, they titillate their audience by creating fear. That is not my goal here. If anything, I would suggest people do MBSR (Jon Kabat-Zinn) before watching or reading anything conspiratorial in nature to prevent undue arousal of the sympathetic NS. Speaking of which, I need to get back into doing that tape every day… Also, humor and comic relief are a must. In any case, my goal is to inform: we who stand for truth are facing nothing less than total tyranny. Facing this does not require us to be fearful, but by God we have a fight on our hands and it does require a response!

    Finally, if you need a break and are up for a music video with lyrics somewhat relevant to the chemtrails phenomenon, check this out!

    “Wake Up” – Arcade Fire:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEKC5pyOKFU

    “We’re just a million little gods causin’ rain storms turnin’ every good thing to
    rust.”

    If you thought that video was very strange, I am in total agreement with you. My evil twin recommended it to me. For more info about my evil twin, see post “KGH, my evil twin”:

    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/kgh-my-evil-twin.html

    Also see this video by a Korean reggae star, which is definitely about chemtrails:

    http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/chemtrail-music-video.html

    Thanks for reading!

    Peace,

    John

    • greg says

      Your little rant was the most entertaining thing I’ve read all day. Rant on! I love when folks aren’t inhibited by political correctness. It’s so refreshing! Thanks for putting your ideas out there. Only by considering all options, politically correct and otherwise, can we ever hope to find the truth.

        • says

          Actually I have to revise what I said. Alchemy is not noble at all. It’s just a bunch of Satanists prancing around in medieval Europe bathing in the blood of children and doing the sign of the horns with their hands. Lots of people do the sign of the horns today. If you’re reading this you should look for the picture of George W. Bush doing the sign of the horns next to the Queen Mother. He must be excited about the University of Texas Longhorns, right? I doubt it.

          I also noticed that the Dewey decimal number on the back of the Alchemy book my chemistry teacher lent me was 666.

          I still think urine therapy is a really powerful tool, and so is distilled water.

          I also still think Chris Kresser is wrong to bash conspiracy theorists/conspiracy theorizing.

      • Trav says

        Yo Greg, you know what else is refreshing, to see someone reply to that without some insult. Good stuff!

  24. KIm says

    Sorry, but I will stay as far away from GM foods as possible. I might agree that both sides could be distorting information to make their point; however, if the TRUTH was really told, individuals could make up their own mind and choose for themselves. As for me, I will go out of my way to support local farmers who are growing REAL, organic food and support the companies who will not use GM ingredients. If we would all support local, organic farmers and stand with them for their right to grow real chemical-free food, we might not be in such dire straits with our food system.

  25. Honora says

    Here in New Zealand, our legislation currently dictates that the label on the packet etc. states there is GMO present in the food. If it weren’t for this, I would have had no idea that the South African breakfast cereal (Pro-Nutro) I was eating on hikes contained GMO soy. BTW, no longer eat unfermented soy. It seems to me that if a nation is resistant to this kind of labelling then they either don’t want the label suggesting that people need to be informed i.e. this may be a caveat for some folks or they don’t want their nationals to be informed about the food they eat. Something rotten in the state of things here.

    Of course with the current NZ government, led by a former money trader at Merrill Lynch, being one of the leading brown nosers of Uncle Sam and persuing the frightening TPPA (TransPacific free trade act that will remove our sovereignty to protect corporatocracies) this will likely change and we will lose the right to be informed of GMO’s in our food and non-food.

  26. Craig Weatherby says

    My retail food company has a no-GMO policy, but IMO, the problem is not GM technology per se, which is neutral, but lax regulation and lack of independent research.

    Bt corn is a an example, but is not emblematic of GM crops, per se … it is just one choice from an in infinitude of possibilities, made by one creepy, politically powerful company (Monsanto)

    Jeffrey Smith (who runs IRT) routinely distorts the evidence, and he has very strong career/financial interests for spinning reality.

    According to a wide range of independent scientists, the Caen et al. studies (cited as 13, 14) were scientifically bogus.

    Unsurprisingly, re: the most recent Caen study, Smith failed to note that many of the rats fed regular corn got equally huge, ugly tumors, and that the study has been refuted as bogus by experts in study design and cancer research.

    See http://the-scientist.com/2012/09/25/anti-gm-crop-study-gets-audited/
    and
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19654825
    and
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/gm-corn-tumor-study-120920.html#mkcpgn=emnws1

    This Slate article is also worth reading and links (indirectly) to a EU report, excerpts of which are shown below.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/06/frankenfood_debate_over_gmos_in_europe_and_the_united_states_.html

    The EU’s science panel and the U.S. NRC agree that GM crops are not inherently unsafe, or inherently less safe than crops bred conventionally, by exposing seeds to toxic chemicals and radiation, creating far more mutation, and totally random one, vs. gene splicing.
    The EU does not have a blanket ban on GMOs (though it had approved only two GM crops as of 2011) and recently sued France over a GM-corn ban which the European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms ruled unscientific.

    In a 2010 report, The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research found that GMOs per se are not less safe than conventional crops.
    See http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf
    A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001 – 2010)

    These are the key excerpts [my comments in brackets]:

    Back Cover:
    This publication (June 2010) summarizes the results of 50 selected research projects on genetically modified organisms (GMO), co-funded by the European Commission under the Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, and conducted in the period 2001 – 2010, including a summary of the latest Eurobarometer survey 2010 on Life Sciences and Biotechnology.

    A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001 – 2010), pg. 16
    The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.”

    [This echoes the conclusions of the U.S. NRC (see “Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods:
    Approaches to Assessing Unintended Health
    Effects” at http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309092094) and everything I’ve read about conventional hybridization methods, which, BTW, produced many of the commercial organic crops raised/sold today … see pg. 3 and 4 of the report and the “GM fear-mongering doesn’t help” section at http://www.vitalchoice.com/shop/pc/articlesView.asp?id=1772 ]

    Safety Assessment, pg. 128 (from Chapter 2: GMO and Food Safety, which starts on pg. 127)
    A number of projects (ENTRANSFOOD, GMO CARE, SAFOTEST, NOFORISK, and GMOBILITY) have focused on the development of safety assessment approaches for GM foods/feed.

    Conclusions, pg. 133:
    These activities [referring to the research programs cited on pg. 128] provide at least equal assurance of the safety of these foods compared to conventional counterparts, provided these GM products have been approved by the EU and the national food safety evaluation procedures.

    Quality studies of micro-organisms used for food fermentation, pg. 130
    The results suggested that gene modifications induced by molecular biology tend to produce less unexpected events than classical methods.

    [Again, this echoes the conclusions of the NRC and everything I’ve read about conventional hybridization methods.]

    I highly recommend “Tommorows Table” by husband-wife team Pamela Ronald (UC Davis plant geneticist) and Raoul Adamchak (Head of UCD’s organic farming program), and “Food, Inc.” by Perter Pringle.

    Ronald makes the case that GM could be a valuable ally to organic farming, and her husband agrees.

  27. Jay says

    How many of you know that the current food safety czar is Mike Taylor who is the former Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto? How many know that the current Secretary of Agriculture is former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack who has been in bed with Monsanto, Dupont et al for years. How many of you voted for Obama in the last election?

    http://www.kingwoodunderground.com/topic.jsp?topicId=11556087

    The wolf is watching the hen house folks.

  28. Ira Edwards says

    In 1989, the “contaminated” tryptophan that killed about 30 people and permanently disabled over 1000 was produced by an untested GMO process. How can anyone say that untested GMO can be safe, or how can the FDA claim they know of no problem? At the recent WAPF conference, I asked Jeffery Smith about this, and he confirmed that my information is correct.
    Ira Edwards, author of HONEST NUTRITION

    • Eric Bjerregaard says

      Ira, Wrong. The problem was caused by an impurity in the tryptophan by a Japanese company. And remember almost all insulin and cheese is produced using genetic engineering.

  29. Monique says

    After becomig aware of the GMOs products implications in our diet, I cleaned my pantry and replaced all products with verified non GMO ingredients. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the manufacturers to decide what I could continue purchasing for my family and what product I should avoid totally. In consequence, I also switched to gluten free products and as well as to coconut products to replace the butters, milk and sugar needed in my recipees. As a result, no one in the family has complained of the adjustements, the kids have lost in average 5 pounds, I have lost 11 pounds after 12 weeks into “our family awareness program” I would encourage anyone who cares for their family to pursue a non GMO awareness program. It is worth it!

  30. Tyler says

    I read “The world according to Monsanto” the other day, scary stuff. I too feel for economic and environmental factors GMOs should be left alone. History of monsanto speaks for itself, its bad all the way around. Massive deregulation in such an ethically slippery field is not the way towards real progress.

  31. Robin H says

    Good, even-handed analysis, as always. Thanks Chris. It would have been good to have this article a few weeks ago before we had to vote on labeling GMO’s. I actually voted against prop 37 (though I felt uncertain about it). It just seemed to me somewhat pointless to try to label GMO, since, as you pointed out yourself, it’s become so ubiquitous. Also, with cross-pollination and all… My feeling is that we should just assume that food produced by mega-farms will be compromised in a number of ways, and the best we can do is to buy organic or from small traditional farms. I’m the strongest proponent of clean, healthy food that I know, but I caught a lot of flack for my vote. Ah well…

    • Tyler says

      It does surprise me you would vote against prop 37 yet support “small traditional farms.” Kinda defeats the purpose if you vote in favor of big multinational corporations on a measure, yet vote with your dollar in favor or small farms when it comes to your food.

    • Jesse says

      That makes a lot of sense to me. I figure, with all the furor about GMOs in the public eye, any product that IS GMO-free is going to want to state that clearly on the label as a marketing strategy… so GMOs are already labeled, basically. If it doesn’t say it’s GMO-free, there’s a good chance it isn’t.

      • Rick says

        That will only happen with enough demand. Most of the population has no clue whats going on. Now when trans fats came out and were horrible, thats when companies started labeling “TRANS FAT FREE!” Which in a way is absurd to see sorbet marketed as trans fat free. When GMO if ever is considered very bad to the public you will labeling everywhere. You guys are not very progressive, are you?

  32. Bren says

    Thanks Chris a good balanced view, we all need to investigate what we are eating, drinking and wearing. I’m increasingly concerned about the increase in soy formula given to babies as young as 4 months and would love to see an article about the pros and cons of soy formula? The babies are lactose or milk protein intolerant but soy products do concern me.

  33. Robert J says

    Ok, caution makes sense. Your article focused on the Bt effect, while others have focused on the massive amounts of pesticides which are used on so many GMO crops, enabled by the genetic modifications of the plants. The combination of these two factors could indeed be dangerous.

    However, it seems to me that the “dramatic rise in obesity, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune disease, and infertility in our country” was well underway long before the rise of GMO crops and foodstuffs and may be equally or more traceable to poor diet, high grain and sugar consumption, powerful antibiotics and advancing age of the childbearing cohort. Certainly pollutants can only contribute to this downhill spiral. Seems that organic foodstuffs/retailers will be a growth industry for many years to come.

    • Eric Bjerregaard says

      Robert J There is no BT effect. The proteins that kill insects only effect those with an alkaline digestive tract. People have acid systems, hence the acid reflux. The acids break down the protein. That’s one reason that BT can be used in organic farming.

  34. Jesse says

    I find it suspicious that almost all of the (actually concerning) references you cited as evidence that GMOs are potentially dangerous come from the same guy (Séralini) who has demonstrated sketchy behavior and a likely anti-GMO bias, y’know? The research should be done, of course, but we have to have reasonable risk-benefit analyses in the meantime. It seems ridiculous that people are so afraid of genetic modification, requiring so much testing, while crops created from breeding or mutagenesis are given a pass. At least with the former we know exactly what the genetic change is, y’know?

    • Junyr73 says

      Cross pollenation and hybridization are NOT the same as scientifically injecting and splicing DNA together in a lab. The former can happen in nature without human intervention, the latter cannon. GMO crops are not a product that could have happened in nature.

        • Cali says

          The difference, Jesse, is that Mother Nature, although not completely perfect, has had MILLIONS of years to create and improve each organism and plant in a way that will benefit the most. And while scientists are discovering more things each day, there are still many, many things that the human race just does not understand about how the body works and the consequences of putting different things into our bodies. We are very much still in the process of learning. For these reasons, I personally feel much more compelled to trust what nature has produced and feel it best that scientists not try to mess with it (at the very least, they need to PROVE as best they can with many long-term, controlled, randomized studies that it is not harmful, before I might feel safe ingesting it).

          • Jesse says

            Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure I see things the same way. Is Mother Nature actively interested in our well-being so much to develop things for our benefit? Aren’t there many deadly substances in Nature that can harm or kill us, either in the short-term or the long-term? Aren’t many of the things we enjoy eating today such good food because of human intervention and ingenuity (for example, the banana)? I don’t think almost anything we eat has been studied with such rigor as you suggest, so is being a hunter/gatherer the only option?

            • Roy says

              Right on. Have we tested organic apples to determine whether they cause cancer? I mean, seriously, apple seeds contain ARSENIC. Feed that to mice and you’ll kill them. Should we ban apples now?

            • rick says

              Banana! I have seen the absurd logic to for gods existence. Then there is a coconut tree right next to the banana tree. LOL. You can debate genetic mutation all you want. The fact is Monsanto’s GMO has not been fully researched. Why should anyone trust the FDA, or AMA for the things they have pushed into society without proper research and then 20 to 40 years laters we find out cigarettes are bad, BPA is bad, etc. People don’t think conspiracy happens because its a taboo word. Conspiracy happens daily.

    • Gina says

      Jesse – Can I recommend a book called Seeds of Destruction by William Engdahl and I urge you to spend a day on the Organic Consumer Associations website just reading all of the articles and studies they have gathered regarding GMO’s. I’m not as concerned with specific breeding of crops within the same species of plants but would agree mutagenesis should get much more review.

  35. Laura says

    One more concerning element about the trend towards genetic modification is that it’s driving thought further way from the health of the soil being the element we need to focus on. If the soil quality is getting so poor, and plants so week, that we need to insert virus DNA into them so they can grow, then we’re ignoring a huge demineralisation issue and subsequent ill health of the population using those foods for the bulk of their calories.

    Also, would it really be the wise thing to do to trust a company with such a track record as Monsanto’s? They’ve told us in the past that things like DDT and Agent Orange were okay. Are genetically modified foods to be on next on the list of regrets 20 years from now?

    It is somewhat concerning that, with all the talk in the past years about the bees and colony collapse, that Monsanto went and bought out a bee research firm which had been investigating their involvement…

    • jon says

      monsanto never said those products were “OK”…where to people come up with such thinking. Every chemical, natural or synthetic comes with risk. No scientist would say they don;t. If someone recieves significant exposures…they take on risk. If you stand next to your grill and bretathe smoke, you are getting cancer risk. Do charcol manfucaturers have to tell you not to do that.

      I personally think it is positive that monsanto bought a company concerned with bee colony collapse..why are you concerned ? Why don’t anti gmo people fund such research…why do they say testing is not good enough, but offer no suggestions on what testing is acceptable…and they certainly could fund such studies.

      easy to think our neighbors that work for the gov’t, or a corporation are out to kill us for profit I guess. I personally would trust a professional in either more than your basic citizen who has little or no accountabilty or responsiblity in what they do.

      rant over :)

      • Trav says

        Ok Jon I seem to be seeing you vouching for Monsanto a lot. There is a lot of reason to be wary of Monsanto, we in no way should be trusting them with a large portion of the food supply.

        Funny how you think individuals are the ones with no accountability when corporations are running rampant.

        • maggie stewart says

          Applause Trav. A good many of us not certified professional have done years of our own research and reading here. I personally don’t trust ALL professionals and we have excellent professionals who’ve done the research on GMO and being verbal giving us information that Monsanto prefers we aren’t exposed to.

  36. Marlene F says

    I enjoyed Chris’s article very much. I was especially surprised to read that even cotton has been GM’d! My husband is “sensitive” to many foods [even one major grocery store’s brand of Organic Spinach bothers him] and even cotton, especially his socks. I buy hemp or bamboo socks for him. Many times even hemp socks contain a large % of cotton. Bt might be the reason for his sensitivity. But to those of you who say you are Paleo/Primal/or??, don’t you still eat vegetables? Vegetables, even organic, may be GM’d apparently–unless you grow your own–and then you have to be careful of the seeds It’s just not fair for those who live in climates that can’t grow much more than spinach and lettuce–and can’t afford health-food store produce which are miles away from our area anyway. All we can do for now is make the best choices we can to try to stay healthy.

    • Laurel says

      Marlene – Most vegetable crops have not been genetically modified. The most notable food crops that have been GMO’d include soybeans, corn & sugarbeets. A good reason to buy cane sugar and not just “sugar” – if you buy sugar that is.

      • CairnMOM says

        Potatoes not marked organic are likely now GMO, that was to start in 2014. Most yellow summer squash is now GMO. Fruit trees are now starting to be GMO, it goes on and on.

        Read Dr. Don Huber..Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University.. one of many giving warnings. Obama has had up to 12-15 people working in the White House with close ties to Monsanto.

        There are many reproductive problems that are happening. Male frogs, subjected to chemical run off of agricultural land, in areas of California are now producing eggs, instead of sperm. It is not just super weeds and other pathogens coming from round up. And, the Monsanto RNA damaging GMO Wheat, is now everywhere. So many people are having gut issues… Wonder why?

        AT 69, I grow most of my food organically, I use BT dust on plants, it helps kill cabbage worms… but it is not IN the plant itself. It is a soil organism that causes no problem topically, but I hate the thought of that being in my body, damaging my intestinal track, from eating non-GMO food.

        People and their health mean little to corporations who look only for profit. A study was out this week, which stated, that kids exposed to chemicals have a much lower IQ. How will we compete in the world, if we dumb down our kids… ? What is the connection between the hight rate of autism] [1 child in every 52 births!] and Autism.. autistic kids a tons of gut issues…. hummm..

        Think about what Fracking chemicals are going to do to young minds… water flows everywhere. Fracking chemicals can not be contained in deep wells, the very drilling caues earthquates that release the water into what we drink. Also, radiation is in those wells, entering our water supply!

        Both issues, GMO and Fracking are Crimes Against Humanity! Get some organic seeds, plant in containers, if you have no land, but begin to learn to feed yourselves. It is delicious, healthy, centering and safer form of exercise, than walking down shopping lanes in a grocery store! Learning to grow food, may very well be a survival tool, since people in charge of this nation, seem to consider citizens expendable, where money is involve

        The information is out there, the choice is ours. GMO’s are for making money, not for properly feeding people! Without health, life becomes a sad chore..I think about that if I ever go into a supermarket, that most of the food, is in all likelihood GMO! All part of taking responsibility for ourselves! Wishing you well

        • Eric Bjerregaard says

          cairnMom, Read U.F. professors attempt to get a straight story out of Huber and The articles debunking his claims at biofortified.

  37. kem says

    Great article. The effects on health could be minimal. That really isn’t the reason I oppose GE. There are too many other extant reasons, from economic to environmental. Being tied to an unsustainable farming system is reason enough. Resisitance of plants to relatively benign chemicals (like glyphosate) leads to greater use of the same product and increased use of much less benign (and more expensive) herbicides. The same could be said of BT and insects.

    It’s all about corporate profits.

    I’m glad GE agriculture is prohibited here in NZ.

  38. Diane says

    This past August I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. In an effort to heal the internal bleeding, I cut all sugar and grains from my diet. Four months later, and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds. I have more energy. I’m having normal bowel function again and the bleeding has mostly stopped, although I have had times where the bleeding flairs up again for a day or two. I don’t know if these improvements in my health are from avoiding sugar, GMOs, or wheat, but what ever it is, I will continue to make all my food from scratch and avoid grains and sugar, even though it is extremely difficult, than go back to the way I was eating, which made me sick!

    • Z says

      I’ve had UC for 40+ years. I hope eventually your gut will be stable enough to let you eat a few targeted grains, but wait a while. Hopefully you will be able to eat millet, wild rice and quinoa (soak them first). I’m very glad you are doing so much better. Keep managing it well!

  39. Mark W says

    I think this article is pretty reasonable and thank you Chris for the work. I tend to have more a problem with specific GMO’s that either create their own insecticides, or allow the plant to withstand heavier doses of herbicides, etc. I’m not opposed to hybridization or other means to create more drought resistant plants, but that’s not entirely where this GMO thing is headed. In the end, you can’t beat the advice to at least be wary, and to eat well probably means choosing the cleanest and most natural foods that you can. It’s hard to go wrong via that route.

    • Lynn Healey says

      Isn’t it possible for responsible food producers to label non-GMO foods as such? Then consumers may start looking for the “non-GMO” label to trust the foods they buy. If the GMO proponents don’t want to their products as containing GMOs, so what? All we need is for the “good guys” to label their foods “non-GMO” and that’s what we buy. Leave the unlabeled stuff on the shelves. It’ll probably never rot…

      • jon says

        good point….much is said about lack of transparency and people want to know. I know, if it is a processed food it likely has GMO…no rocket science needed.

        If mfg’s (good guys as you say) want to supply those who don’t want gmo….they are free to do so.

        The reason things don’t rot on the shelf is an entirely different matter (and known to anyone who wants to look). That you think gmo has anything qualities related to shelf life…says to me preception is what drives you, not science. genetically evolution, and hybrid manipulation good….engineered bad….not sure I can think of why people think that way, but many do.

        • Trav says

          The reason they said it wouldn’t rot wasn’t solely based on the GMO aspect, it is more likely they mean foods that contain GMO are likely to be filled with other toxic ingredients and preservatives.

          Also, if you are trying to say that hybridization is the same as genetic modification you are absolutely wrong.

          Hybridization works within the boundaries of nature, genetic modification crosses species barriers that were never meant to be crossed.

        • Lynn says

          I did speak in haste. Please believe that I honestly don’t really think GMO has anything to do with food not rotting on the shelves… it was a bad statement, and I was just caught up in the whole disgust with various forms of fake food.
          Wish I could have erased my reply, which was formed in an agitated state. But sadly, I cannot retract the comment.

  40. Fred B says

    Well done. My take is, since we don’t know why risk it? When we mess with the foods mother nature gives us, it tends to turn out bad. Until there’s a definitive answer, I’m fine with skipping them… of course, I eat a Primal/Ancestral diet so I’m not too concerned anyway!

  41. einstein says

    To me it is a no brainer, that GMOs should be avoided. This story resembles Big Sugar’s fight to disprove the harmful effects of sugar consumption on human health. Good old Europe is very right in regulating the stuff extensively. Feed GMOs to your enemies if you want to do them harm. Avoid them yourself.

  42. Rich says

    I used to work for USDA. Approval of these GMOs is a total farce. USDA Biotechnology Resources tells the manufacturer “if you tell us its safe, then we believe you”. I mean this with no exageration. There is no requirement to provide test documentation. The fact that Monsanto spent 40 million to defeat the proposition shows that they dont want consumers to make informed decisions. One other fact Chris, just because a product is labeled Organic, does not mean it is GMO free. The term organic is a USDA regulated term which just means basically no chemicals were applied.

    • junyr73 says

      Just to state here about the GMO content of organic labeled food… There’s multiple tiers of organic labeling based on the percent of organic ingredients:

      How do I know if something is organic?

      The USDA has identified for three categories of labeling organic products:

      100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients

      Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients

      Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

      Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

    • says

      Rich,

      Thanks for your comments about your experience working with USDA and how the “approve” GMO’s. I have been under the assumption if I bought organic corn tortillas for my family they would be GMO free. Hmmm I will have to be more diligent..

    • Donna says

      That is upsetting re organics and GMOs … I had counted on organic foods to be GMO-free! Hope organic producers could make sure to label their GMO-free produce as such.

    • says

      Dear Rich, could you explain were your claim on GMO in organic foods comes from?

      I would say that this claim on GMO seeds is wrong. Without doubt in Europe GMOs are strictly forbidden in organic farming. The EU standard (which is the most lax one in Europe) says: “Absolute prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms”

      http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/organic-farming/what-organic_en

      And also the EPA writes: “The NOP [National Standards on Organic Agricultural Production and Handling, red.] rule prohibits the use of genetic engineering”

      http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/torg.html#National%20Organic%20Standards

      May I ask, are there any benefits for Americans for being the guinea pigs for the rest of the world?

      • Jack LaBear says

        “May I ask, are there any benefits for Americans for being the guinea pigs for the rest of the world?”

        Cheap food for the masses, $$$ for the elite!

        • says

          I believe the second part, Monsanto and co. are making profits.

          I get the impression, that they determine the prices in a way that the farmers already do not get much of the profit. As the commodity prices are a very small part of the product price, I do not think the masses notice anything. Even in case of bread, the price of the wheat does not contribute much to the price, most is labor, transport, marketing and opportunity costs.

          • Lyla Cavanaugh says

            That is not true Goldman Sachs and other investment banks are now allowed to speculate in commodities and are driving prices up. This is since 2000 when Clinton signed the Commodities Futures Modernization Act when he also got rid of Glass Steagal which required investment banks to be separate from deposit banks which used to prohibit banks from speculating with depositor’s savings. Now Goldman is speculating in oil and aluminum driving up the price of gas and cokes.

      • Rich says

        Hi Victor,
        I worked in the government for 30 years. Most people really are unaware of the fraud and devious ways of manipulating rules within the government. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the USDA gives carte blanche approval of products to the manufacturer, i.e. Monsanto. I have seen it done and seen the internal memos. The USDA regulates growth and production of food products, whereas, FDA, regulates the sale of food products. As far as the Organic definition, let me get my hands on the rule which is used (not necessarily published) and I will post it.

        • jon says

          I have worked for “the gov’t” also…and find your statement of carte blanc silly. If you had any data to support your statements you should provide it.

          so, you think there is a ‘rule” that is used, but not published…a credibility killer imo.

      • jon says

        I would say their are benifits….ask the farmers, they buy them for some reason related to yield, climate resistence, and other reasons. While I think risk should be assessed. I also think risk of existing crops should be the benchmark of comparison. To create some new criteria that the existing risk is not compared to seems silly. Do you feel a gu

        Did you feel like a guinea pig for cell phone risk too ? We did pick up both cancer risk (if you believe everything you read)…and real documented travel safety deaths and accidents just for being able to say…where you at ?

        Regardings organics and certifications….lets also be candid about that. Many “certify”, the majority don’t test, don’t audit, and don’t report. And we know organic comes with a bit more food risk due to bio contamination….

        • Bob says

          Regarding Jons citing of “Bio-contamination*” This sort of thing occurs at processing and not on the farm. To think because something is grown in manure there is some risk of illness is fear based decision making. This is a talking point and a red herring promoted by lobbyists and corporations like Monsanto that practice SOCIAL engineering for profit. Lets stick to legitimate arguments to defend our positions.

          I grew up in agriculture and have never heard of anyone getting sick from eating produce grown in manure based fertilizer.

          Furthermore, If GMO’s are so safe then why do the food producers not want to do the research. Like a polygraph test- if you are not willing to take one then you are probably hiding something.

          Eat whole foods as opposed to processed packaged foods and not only will you be healthier but the land fills will thank you too. Whole food diets hurt these profit driven manufacturers and retailors because produce is mostly brought in from local farms because of perishability, not cheaply produced and imported from Communist China and marked up 400%. Wal-Mart and Target resisted offering fresh produce because margins are tighter, there is no juicy mark up for packaging and labeling, and there is more product loss do to spoilage.

          Playing GOD has never paid off for the human race and has only benefited corporate profits.

          Look at all the bad pharmaceuticals being crammed down our throats, the constant need for war because it is more profitable than peace, HFCS, Hydrogenated Oils, Tobacco, environmental, financial and media de-regulation, industrial consumerism based economics, just to name a few. All of these things have been engineered to maximize profit and limit understanding by the general public thru misinformation, media suppression and distraction. You wanna talk about guinea pigs…

          And we wonder why our education system is failing. A misinformed and fearful person is more easily controlled. Imagine you are in a burning building that you are unfamiliar with and a stranger comes up and says, “follow me!” What would you do? Fear and disorientation force a decision based on fight or flight response and not on logic or comprehension. Not really guinea pigs I guess, more like cattle!

          May your life be filled with peace and clarity thru logic and understanding.

  43. Jay says

    Good article Chris, thanks. Also, lectins are routinely inserted into GMOs to make them pest resistant. This usually sneaks past popular/regulatory scrutiny because lectins occur naturally in non-GMOs. While most lectins are destroyed through the cooking process, many are not.

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