In 2009, a team of French scientists published a study in the International Journal of Biological Sciences that raised red flags, then quietly disappeared off media radar screens. The researchers fed three varieties of genetically modified corn to rats. What they found was that the normal detoxing organs (kidney and liver) could not filter the toxins out of the corn.
They also found impacts on the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic (blood) system. They concluded we need to know a lot more about the long-term impacts of eating these GM corns before we declare them safe for human consumption. Their study joins a growing list of warnings about genetically modified organisms, but anyone who wants to avoid being part of biotech’s experimental sample will not find any help on food labels.
The Center for Food Safety is raising awareness about the issues. They are also taking the GM industry to task for marketing foods that “can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.” Their new True Food Shopper’s Guide is a detailed pathfinder to where GM is found in the foods on our supermarket shelves.
The True Food Shopper’s Guide is available as a mobile application (free download on iTunes, for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android) and as a downloadable PDF version. Start with “Four Simple Tips” for avoiding genetically modified ingredients, and you have the easiest possible way of avoiding GMOs. (Hint: buy organic.)
The “What’s New” section offers regular updates on GMO news and campaigns, while the “Action” center makes it easy for consumers to speak out. If you are stuck for facts when friends ask about GMO, you can find answers in the “More Info” section.
The guide will be particularly useful when you are contemplating cartons of yogurt, cans of soup or bags of chips. Dannon’s dairy products are rBGH-free but may contain GMO ingredients. Eden soups are non-GMO; ConAgra’s Healthy Choice may contain GMO ingredients. Kettle Chips are GMO-free, but Pringles may not be.
BigFood has no intention of letting consumers know which of their foods contains GMO ingredients. Regulators and lawmakers appear to agree the “precautionary principle” means don’t hamper business instead of don’t risk consumers. So in spite of mounting evidence that GMOs are unpredictable and risky genies released from the bottle, anyone wanting to avoid them will be grateful for this True Food Shopper’s Guide.
Max Goldberg’s enthusiastic video review (below) on his blog, LivingMaxWell , is a good place to see how the mobile app functions.
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Photo from USDA Agricultural Research Service