As one of the 50 million Americans who suffers from an autoimmune disease, a process where the body attacks and destroys its own healthy tissue, I realize that is it time for food manufacturers to label GMOs in Maryland.
It is imperative consumers know what is in their food, particularly when that food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
For better or for worse, we become what we eat – literally. In order to continue taking back my health and my life from two disabling autoimmune diseases, I must know exactly what I’m eating to both deeply nourish my body, and avoid triggering an already confused immune system.
The good news is that people with autoimmune disease CAN recover their health – but only if they eat in a certain way. As it stands today, 80% of food in grocery stores contain genetically modified organisms. Without labeling GMOs, we can easily and unknowingly ingest substances that further harm our health.
Over Half the US Population is Chronically Ill
I believe all people have a right to know what they are eating. This is especially the case for people who are chronically ill, and there are a lot of us. Based on statistics from the CDC, NIH, and other national disease foundations, approximately 150 million people have some form of an immune system disorder, including:
- A confused immune system. In addition to the 50 million people who have an autoimmune disorder such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis and related diseases with an autoimmune component, there are another 32 million people with autoantibodies that can lead to full-blown autoimmune disease, one of the top 10 leading causes of death in women and girls.
- An overactive immune system. 60 million people have asthma or some form of allergy, which can lead to death.
- An underactive or overwhelmed immune system. 20 million people have illnesses such as cancer and Lyme Disease where the immune system becomes dysfunctional due to underperforming its duties or becomes overwhelmed from fighting infection.
Adding to an already horrific state of health in the American population, 60 to 70 million Americans suffer with digestive diseases. This is bad news for the immune system because 70% of it resides in our digestive tract.
The chronic illness numbers keep adding up with heart disease (26.5 million Americans) and Type 2 Diabetes (25.8 million Americans) – both diseases plagued with inflammation.
Why Are GMOs Bad for the Chronically Ill?
There are 3 primary reasons why chronically ill people must know which foods contain GMOs so they can avoid them:
1. Immune system reaction and increased inflammation.
During the process of developing each type of GMO seed, a new, previously unknown genetically engineered plant protein is created. Dr. Arden Anderson, medical doctor, soil biologist and biophysics PhD explains it well:
“Because genetically engineered crops are infected with a virally activated foreign gene complex, it is correctly seen by the immune system of all mammals as foreign protein material, as antigenic. Seen as such, it elicits a defensive immune response by the organism. Inflammation is the universal response.”
Yet another blow to the immune system is the heavy load of herbicides and insecticides that are sprayed on every GMO crop. These toxins are also viewed by the immune system to be foreign invaders, causing an inflammatory reaction.
2. Digestive system damage.
A recent commercial feeding study of pigs, published in the Journal of Organic Systems, found that the rate of severe stomach inflammation was significantly higher for GMO-fed pigs, up to four times and the uteri of GMO-fed pigs was significantly larger (25%) than those of non-GMO-fed pigs.
3. Lack of safety testing.
The United States testing process for GE foods is cursory, providing no assurances of these foods’ safety over the long-term. Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD Plant Pathology and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists stated:
“The FDA review process for GE foods is voluntary, and provides no detailed guidance on how to test GE foods to ensure their safety. … At the end of its cursory review, the agency does not approve the safety of these foods, but reminds the company that FDA is relying on the company’s assessment of safety.”
Additionally, there is no independent research on the health or environmental safety of GMOs because the seed companies explicitly forbid the use of the seeds for any independent research. The seeds are patented and are the intellectual property of the seed company. It is well documented that seed companies only approve flattering studies of their products and that negative studies never make it into a peer-reviewed journal.
Why Does Half the World’s Population Have the Right to Know What is in Their Food and Americans Still Do Not?
GMO proponents argue that food prices will go up because of labeling requirements, but food companies are already labeling GMOs in at least 62 countries including all of the European Union, China, India, Japan, Korea, Australia, Russia, Brazil and South Africa.
This constitutes over half the world’s population who have the right to know what they are eating. It’s not as if Americans don’t care what they are eating. A recent New York Times poll showed that 93% of Americans support mandatory GMO labeling.
Take Action Today!
If you have a chronic illness or know someone who does, or you want to know what is in the food you eat – please get involved and support the state of Maryland labeling initiative. Hearings start on March 11, so time is of the essence.
You can support GMO labeling in Maryland in the following ways:
- sharing this post on social media
- signing the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/needtoknow-maryland-gmo
- visiting http://www.needtoknowmaryland.org
Thank you for your support!
Maryland, you can do it!!
- David Gumpert finds GOOD NEWS IN FIGHT OVER GMO LABELING–IT HELPS UNITE COMMUNITIES FOR REAL FOOD
- Kimberley Hartke reports: GMO Issue Sparks Activism
- Whole Green Love offers 6 Tips for Avoiding GMO Foods
You can learn more about the effects of GMOs on your immune system, as well as how to avoid them in her book Foreign Invaders: An Autoimmune Disease Journey Through Monsanto’s World of Genetically Modified Food.