I have been relatively quiet on the whole genetically modified organism (GMO’s) debate. My personal opinion has always been that research is lacking on both sides of the isle, so I have stayed out of the mix (though I personally choose not to consciously consume GM products, due to the research I have read which I will share with you later in this article).
It was not until the Grocery Manufactures Association (GMA) decided to sue the state of Vermont over a bill that was passed mandating the labeling of genetically modified (GM) products that caused me to finally raise an eyebrow to all of this.
Why would a company need to hide behind a false label if their product was pure and had the consumer’s best interest in mind? The answer is they wouldn’t.
The GMA has spent over 100 million dollars in previous years blocking legislation that would mandate all GM food products be labeled as such and cannot contain the words “natural” or “all-natural”, and let’s be honest, there is nothing natural about crossing genetic boundaries.
This in and of itself should have been enough cause for suspicion, but the whole money laundering scheme the GMA pulled in order to cover-up the identity of it's members so that their reputation wouldn’t be harmed as they forked over millions of dollars to stop legislation against GM labels made it abundantly clear this association is scum.
This is the equivalency of a business saying, “our products contain crap and we don’t want people to know because they would stop lining our pockets, so we’ll let the GMA do our dirty work!”
Long story short, I could not, in good conscious sit on the fence any longer.
The only thing this association and their member companies are looking out for is their bottom line. Nutrition and health is hardly of their concern. Do not let the smoke and mirrors fool you into believing otherwise.
A quick glance into the list of members of the GMA (full list found here) and then browsing a few of the company websites that are located here in Ohio painted a clear picture of what we are dealing with.
For the sake of time and my sanity, I am only going to cover one company and a few of their products. I chose Abbot Nutrition because it resides in my home state, and because their products target mostly infants and toddlers.
The tag line for the company’s products is “For Healthcare Professionals”.
Here is a list of their brands:
- Similac® Advance®, Similac Expert Care® Alimentum®, and Similac® Soy Isomil® in infant formulas
- PediaSure® and Pedialyte® for children
- Ensure® and ZonePerfect® for active adults
- EAS® for elite athletes and fitness enthusiasts
- Glucerna® for people with diabetes
I won’t pick apart each and every one of their products, though it wouldn’t be difficult to do.
Instead, I’ll start with the best of bunch. The Zone Perfect bars contain far and away the least amount of ingredients. The downside however, is the amount of sugar content (between 15 and 18 grams per bar) and the soy used is genetically modified.
As of right now, Similac Advance Organic infant formula is being sued under a class action lawsuit where of the 49 ingredients making up the formula, 26 of them aren’t even allowed in organic foods!
Pedialyte contains artificial sweeteners, acesulfame K (which is banned from all children’s products in Europe) as well as artificial food coloring that has been linked to hyperactivity disorders in children.
Ensure, which is often recommended to people recovering from cancer is nothing more than sugar water, chalked full of synthetic sweeteners and hallow calories known to deplete nutrients from the body.
And why not save the best for last with Glucerna? This one is a real gem. This drink is touted as a way to manage blood sugar spikes for people with type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult onset diabetes because it used to be unheard of in kids). One of the ingredients, carrageenan, is also banned in Europe because it causes intestinal irritation. Glucerna also contains acesulfame K as well as artificial colors proven to cause cancer in rats, and…(drum roll please) FRUCTOSE known to cause wait gain and insulin resistance, not to mention tons of carbs, which type 2 diabetics tend to frown upon..
In addition to laundry list of crappy ingredients, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE PRODUCTS LISTED ABOVE CONTAINS GMO’S! In fact, after water, it is the second most abundant ingredient on almost every list!
Bravo, Abbott Nutrition. No wonder you have such a vested interest in keeping these products mislabeled.
Now I know that I mentioned earlier that I would touch on some of the research that is less than favorable for GMO’s, so before I forget, here it is (keep in mind, this list is hardly all-inclusive).
To begin with, GMO’s have only been found safe in superficial “studies” conducted by the same people who create the GMO’s (where I come from, this is considered a conflict of interest).
FDA scientists repeatedly call for long term, deeper studies, which are wholly ignored by the top officials of the FDA, who just so happen to be former executives of the very companies they are now in charge of “regulating”.
Soy allergies increased 50% in humans once GMO soy was introduced. Also found was a reduction in certain digestive enzymes.
Bt 176 corn (produced by Syngenta) has killed native animals and cattle that fed on the GMO crops in the Philippines and India, in addition to causing increased allergic reactions in humans along with weaker immune function.
Rats that were fed GMO potatoes had partially atrophied (smaller & weaker) livers along with excessive cell growth in the stomach lining.
Rats who consumed GMO canola had enlarged livers.
Reports show that despite having GE crops, the use of pesticides and herbicides have actually been on the rise and the toll that these crops seem to be taking on the microorganisms, the soil, and on other wildlife does not look favorable.
I do not claim to know everything there is to know about genetic modification (be it in plants or animals) but I do know there is NOT enough evidence at this point in time for me to say it is safe, and I especially wouldn’t chance it with my family or my own health.
10 years from now, after more independent research has been collected, and not by those who produce the product, I may change my mind, but until then, label the GMO’s.
A good way to combat GMO's is to vote with your wallet. Take a look at the list of those in the GMA and boycott all of their products. Contact your state and federal elected officials and let them know how you feel about GMO's.
Again, organic products are not supposed to be allowed to contain GMO's, though from the story above, that did not stop Abbott Nutrition from producing an "organic" infant formula. I still feel the best way to prevent their consumption is to buy local from farmers you have personally met and spoken with about their products or to simply grow your own.
-Dr. Andrew R. Burns