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It looks the same it tastes the same, but something disturbingly different has happened to our food without our knowledge or consent.  It is called genetic modification and according to leading doctors what you don’t know can hurt you.

Genetic modification is a process through which genes from a completely different species are inserted into the DNA of another plant or animal.  These genes are inserted to give the plant/animal beneficial characteristics such as frost or insect resistance, but at what cost??  What happens when you cross the genome of a strawberry with a cold-water fish??  Supporters of genetically modified organisms (GMO) claim that it is no different than tearing a page from one book and inserting it into another.

The biotechnology industry says that millions of people have been eating genetically modified foods without ill effect.  However, this is a misleading statement as no one has studied the impact of genetically modified foods on humans.  However, studies on animals fed genetically modified foods have shown an increase in pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.

Although no long-term human studies exist, trends point to the ill effects of genetically modified foods on humans.  In the UK, soon after genetically modified (GM) soy was introduced, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent.  The Center for Disease Control in March 2001 reported that food is responsible for twice the number of illnesses in the U.S. compared to just seven years earlier.  This increase roughly corresponds to introduction and widespread consumption of GM foods.

The FDA’s position has always been that GMO foods are equivalent to unmodified foods and therefore not subject to FDA regulation.  Consequently, to this point GMO labeling has been voluntary and virtually non-existent.  As a result the average food shopper has no idea which products are genetically modified.  Hopefully this will not be the case for long, as national surveys indicate 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled.

Now is the time to take action.  Co-ops around the country including our own local co-op are supporting a movement to enforce the labeling of genetically modified foods, the Just Label it! campaign.  Want to make a difference, log onto the Just Label It! and make your voice heard by signing the online petition.

Until genetically modified foods are clearly labeled, you can protect yourself and your family by taking a few simple steps.  Buy certified organic products, as these can’t intentionally include GMO ingredients.  Look for products labeled with the Non-GMO project seal, a non-profit organization committed to providing consumers with independently verified non-GMO products.  Avoid high-risk foods including corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed and sugar beets.  Make informed choices now and don’t wait for the FDA to catch up with what we already know, because what you can’t see could hurt your.

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