Genetically Modified Organisms and Corn

Michael Smith Author

There has been a good bit of coverage in the news over the past few years concerning the marketing and labeling of foods that have been genetically modified. These foods – even now – are on your grocery store shelves. Because of the laws in this country, purveyors do not have to inform you whether the food you are eating contains products that have been genetically modified.

 Geneticists have been able to leave their mark on both meat and produce. Meat companies are able to clone cattle. Chemical and seed companies, such as the notorious Monsanto, are able to modify certain products such as soybeans and corn to be resistant to certain kinds of pesticides. This enables farmers to douse crops in pesticides that kill virtually every living thing around them, except for the crops, themselves. While this is great for farmers’ bottom lines, it gives one pause when one thinks about consuming products with said crops in them.

There is some research linking consumption of these products to diseases such as cancer. A study published in The Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal out of London found that rats fed a steady diet of genetically modified corn with trace amounts of pesticides developed tumors, organ damage and ultimately suffered early death.

Compound these facts with another fact about corn; corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins. Given that corn is ubiquitous in the American diet, chances are that if you are eating anything with corn in it, you are getting trace amounts of mycotoxins. Some of these mycotoxins – such as aflatoxin – are among the most carcinogenic naturally occurring substances on earth. Similar to genetically modified corn, any corn products you buy won’t be labeled with any sort of warning for mycotoxins.

Unfortunately, in this country and others, there is a delay between research conclusions and the warnings legislators are willing to issue. When moneyed interests are involved, that process becomes even more cumbersome. Despite the fact that our legislators and regulators aren’t willing to stand up to moneyed interests, you still have a choice. Until science proves the safety of genetically modified foods, I choose to avoid them. As far as corn is concerned, I believe that current science proves that corn is contaminated with a type of fungus that can cause serious diseases, so it is officially off my list!

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