Health Concerns of Frankenfooods

Health Concerns of Frankenfooods

Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
October 1, 2001
Health Concerns & GMO Food; genetically modified

BY: Jule Klotter

Genetically-engineered food entered the marketplace in 1996. An estimated
60-70% of all processed foods now contain genetically-modified ingredients.
An internet article by journalist Barbara Keeler and Shirley Watson, DC,
CCN, Director of Education for the American Chiropractors Association's
Council on Nutrition, explains how genetically-engineered foods are created.
Their article also encourages practitioners to become aware of possible
health risks, such as food allergies, antibiotic resistance, and organ and
immune system damage. The authors quote the FDA, on Fed I Register 22987:
"Genetic engineering may transfer new and unidentified proteins from one
food into another, triggering allergic reactions. Millions of Americans who
are sensitive to allergens will have no way of identifying or protecting
themselves from offending foods. Allergic reactions can cause more than
simple discomfort -- they can result in life-threatening anaphylactic
shock." Trypsin-inhibitor, a major allergen with anti-nutritional effects,
was 26.7% higher in Monsanto's RR soybeans. The York Nutritional Laboratory,
which specializes in food sensitivity, reported a 50% increase in soy
allergies in 1999-2000. Although the researchers did not prove that the
increase in GMO soy production caused the rise in soy allergies, it was the
first time that soy was among the top 10 allergenic foods. Soybeans are the
most common genetically-modified crop. Because of the many unknown proteins
that are created during genetic manipulations, scientists have no tests for
assessing allergen-potential of GMO food.

In addition to soybeans, genetically-engineered potatoes have caused
"significant damage" to rats. While working at Rowett Institute in Scotland,
Dr. Pusztai discovered that rats eating lectin-producing GMO potatoes showed
damage to their immune systems, thymuses, kidneys, spleens, and guts. Rowett
Institute fired Dr. Pusztai and attempted to discredit his findings. Keeler
and Watson say that a news article in February 1999, stated that Dr.
Pusztai's discovery was verified by a panel of 20 international scientists.
Dr. Stanley Ewen suggests that the damage may be the result of the
Cauliflower Mosaic Virus, which is a common vector (production aid) used in
gene splicing.

The concern that GMO food may promote antibioticresistance is not unfounded.
Transgenes, which are readily moved from one species to another, and
antibiotic-resistant marker genes, found in GMO crops, have been found in
soil bacteria and fungi. Keeler and Watson write: "Evidence exists that DNA
released from dead and live cells are not readily broken down, but retain
the ability to spread antibiotic resistant ma genes to pathogenic organisms
in the environment."

Dr. John Fagan, a molecular biologist, conducted research in recombinant DNA
for the National Institutes of Health for 22 years. When he became concerned
about the consequences of GMO food, Dr. Fagan turned his attention to
developing testing techniques to identify genetically-engineered food in the
marketplace. He believes that GMO products should be assessed for health and
environmental effects, using animals and human volunteers, before the
products enter the marketplace.

"Genetically-Engineered Foods -- How It Is Done, What Are the Risks" by
Barbara Keeler and Shirley Watson DC, CCN. Spet. 24, 2000.

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