By: Jerri Johns, Holistic Nutritionist, Mississauga,Ontario. CanadaYou may have heard the term GMO or genetically modified organism. There may be some confusion as to whether they are good or bad for us. A GMO is a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting it into another, altering DNA. It creates unstable combinations that don’t occur in nature. They are engineered to tolerate direct applications of herbicides and/or to produce their own insecticide, which ruptures the stomachs of bugs eating the crops. In Canada, there are 326 pesticides approved for use on our crops. Many of these chemicals cause erosion of the digestive tract, destruction of red blood cells, increased risk of miscarriage, chronic headaches, an increased risk of cancer, nervous systems disorders, hormonal imbalances and infertility.It has been 20 years since GMO’s were introduced in Canada. Long term health studies on humans have never been done. However, FDA scientists warned years ago, genetically engineered foods can create hard to detect side effects including allergies, toxic build up in the body, diseases and nutritional problems. They urged for long term studies, but were ignored. Studies on rats found organ damage, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, tumours, reproductive problems, and death. The ingestion of GMO’s can affect both our microrobiome and our cells. The is the microbiome is the microorganism population living on and in the human body, with most of living in or on the mouth, nose, stomach, intestines and skin. The gut microbiome has received much attention due to it’s profound affect on the immune system. The gut microbiome is involved in determining the risk of autoimmune diseases and allergic diseases. Dysbiosis is the result of the gut microbiome becoming out of balance and can produce clostridium and C-difficile overgrowth and other disorders such as IBD, IBS,small bowel bacterial overgrowth and colitis. Balanced gut flora is critical for health and we are just beginning to appreciate how serious the consequences of dysbiosis may be.
Currently in Canada there are four GM crops grown, canola, corn, soy and sugar beets (used in sugar processing). These crops end up in much of our processed food (and our companion animal’s foods as well) . We import GM papaya, some varieties of squash, cottonseed oil, as well as milk products made with recombinant bovine growth hormone from the U.S. Allergies have skyrocketed in the last 15 years in North America. Dr. Shiv Chopra, a man whose name has become synonymous with food safety in Canada said this of our current state of farming, “ the only solution to this madness is to not allow any genetically modified food crops”.
Many countries have banned GMO’s. 64 countries worldwide require GMO labelling. Canada and the U.S are the only two industrialized nations that don’t require mandatory labelling. An overwhelming number of North American’s want their food labelled.