Are genetically modified foods safe for humans?

Crossposted on Daily Kos

"The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don't think we fully understand the dimensions of what we're getting into." - Professor Philip James (author of the "James" report on the structure and functions of the proposed UK Food Standards Agency to oversee national food safety standards), Director of the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, on genetically engineered food.
Rowett Research Institute, The Foods Standards Agency: Covered up US study shows damage to rats from BST

There have never been any human safety studies on GMOs due to the FDA’s position that GMOs are not substantially different than their natural counterparts. Animal studies have shown potential dangers such as cancer, diabetes, intestinal disease, low birth weight, reproductive problems and other health risks, according to GMO Free Idaho.

Genetically modified foods (GM foods, or biotech foods) are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding; plant breeding, and animal breeding, and somaclonal variation. Since genetically modified food has been introduced into supermarkets, there has been much controversy as to whether it is actually safe.

Genetically modified foods were first put on the market in 1996. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybean, corn, canola, rice, and cotton seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market. In 2006 a pig was engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene. Researchers have also developed a genetically modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.

Critics, sometimes referring to genetically modified foods as "frankenfood", have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues, ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact these organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

GMO Free Idaho says that 80% of Americans don’t know that we have been eating genetically modified foods since 1996. the organization is dedicated to teaching consumers everything they need to know about GMOs so they can become part of the growing movement to label and or/ban GM foods.

The group educates the public about the impacts of genetically modified organisms, promoting local, organic, and non-GMO food producers, and works to eliminate GMOs from our food supply.

There are so many things we can all do to affect change to our food supply. From volunteering with a local action group or joining an online community to buying non-GMO foods, we can do our part to ensure that we have the right to know what we are consuming and eliminate harmful chemicals and substances from our food. Here are several things you can do to get involved:

Host or attend GMO Free Idaho presentation. Here is their events calendar. Pick a date and contact us if you want to host a presentation at your home, or attend our next presentation. To learn more about their presentations click here.

Write your Representatives. You can find out who your representatives are here, or find Idaho legislators here. Tell your reps how you feel about genetically modified foods and ask them to support labeling laws.

Write a letter to your newspaper editor. This is a great way to spread awareness and make a call to action.

Help us take action with Dennis Kucinich and the bills he has introduced that will mandate GMO labeling laws and ban the open air growth of GMOs. The bills are H.R. 3554: Genetically  Engineered Safety Act and H.R. 3553: Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act.

Join the Organic Consumers Association and the Institute for Responsible Technology to get regular updates about GMOs.

Support local, organic, and non-GMO food producers. Every dollar you spent on these types of foods and products is a vote that says no to genetically modified foods. If enough consumers reject GMO foods, food manufacturers and producers will have no choice but to appeal to consumer demand.

Book a GMO Free Idaho presentation for your school or organization. Here are some of the topics they cover:

The process of creating genetically modified seed.
What crops and ingredients are genetically modified.
Corporate crimes against humanity.
The Monsanto monopoly of our seed supply.
The FDA’s policy of “substantial equivalence.”
Concerns over GMO patents and cross contamination.
Animal studies and human health concerns.
GMO impacts on our environment.
GMOs and the rest of the world.
The political revolving doors and local pro-GMO legislators.
How you can take action and eliminate GMOs from your pantry and our food supply.

GMO Free Idaho can tailor their presentation to fit your needs and also offer in home presentations and can provide non-GMO snacks under certain circumstances. Contact GMO Free Idaho if you want to host a presentation or attend their next event.

Provided Materials:

GMO Frequently Asked Questions
Health Risks Brochure
Non-GMO Shopping Guide
Dirty Dozen Guide
Audio CD’s by Jeffery Smith
Buy Local Guide

"But we realize that with any new and powerful technology with unknown, and
to some degree unknowable - by definition - effects, then there necessarily
will be an appropriate level at least, and maybe even more than that, of
public debate and public interest." - Bob Shapiro, Chief Executive of Monsanto, admitting that the effects of genetic engineering are unknown and "to some degree" unknowable (SWF News interview, San Francisco, 27 October 1998).