Kaiser Permanente, the biggest HMO (health maintenance organization) in the country, has come out with an article in their Fall 2012 Northwest Partners in Health newsletter advising members to steer clear of GMOs. Here are some highlights of the article:
What do soda, canned chicken soup, margarine, and corn flakes have in common? They all contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
GMOs have a piece of DNA from a difference species, such as bacteria or viruses, spliced into their DNA. Genetically engineered corn, for example, has DNA added so that it has a pesticide built right into it. This process creates a new species of plant that would have never occurred in nature.
WHERE DO YOU FIND GMOs?
GMOs have been added to our food supply since 1994, but most people don’t know it because the United States does not require labeling of GMOs. As of 2012, most corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, and sugar beets are genetically modified. Nearly 80 percent of processed food and most fast food contain GMOs.
Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce.
Here are several ways you can help limit your exposure to GMOs:
- Buy organic. All USDA Certified Organic foods are GMO-free.
- Avoid foods that contain nonorganic soy, corn, and canola or cotton-seed oil.
- Look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal.
- Ask your local market. For example, Trader Joe’s produce and Trader Joe’s labeled foods are GMO-free; Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday Value products are sourced to be GMO-free.
- Download the ShopNoGMO app.
- Visit nongmoshoppingguide.com and nongmoproject.org
G.E. Seralini, et al. “New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize revels signs hepatorenal toxicity,” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 52: (2007) 596-602
A Kilic and M.T. Akay “A three-generation study with genetically modified Bt corn in rats: Biochemical and histopathological investigation,” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (2008) 1164-1170
A. Velimirov, et al. “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long-term reproduction studies in mice,” Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Familie und Jugend report, Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV Band (March 2008)
* Corrected URL
See a snapshot of the full article along with some commentary here at the WillametteLive.com website.
My own personal take? I am equally surprised and delighted that such a huge organization would take a strong stand like this. My cynical side tells me to stay tuned for the fall-out. I half expect Kaiser to recant but I really hope that doesn’t happen.
(FYI: WillametteLive.com is part of Willamette Media, the parent company that also publishes the Salem Weekly newspaper, covering the central Willamette Valley in Oregon.)