GMOs and the Big Round Up

GMOs and the Big Round Up

Greetings from Dr. Thorburn:

Whether we like it or not, GMOs are a part of the American dietary landscape and they are something we all need to become more informed about.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 70-80% of the food we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contains GMO ingredients. A GMO is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

The top ten most common GMO foods are soy, corn, canola oil, cotton (cottonseed oil), milk (cows are given hormones to develop and produce milk faster), sugar, aspartame, zucchini, yellow squash and papaya.

Most fresh produce, with the exception of those listed above, are non-GMO. Dried beans, grains, nuts and seeds are non-GMO. Meats, unless they are organically raised, have been fed GMO corn.

The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy food – especially any packaged food — that is 100% organic. Every day more and more foods proclaim on their labels and in their advertising that they are non-GMO. Non-GMO is desirable. Food the way nature made it. It’s time to learn more.

Why GMOs? Stock answers from food manufacturers include that science is finding ways to make heartier plants that are better able to withstand weather and come to harvest in less time. Who could argue feeding more people quicker with the ever growing world population? It is interesting to note that over half of the 28 European Union countries want nothing to do with GMOs.

A major GMO controversy revolves around Round Up, the herbicide produced by Monsanto. Round Up’s active ingredient is glyphosate, which when consumed has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, and system toxicity. The World Health Organization’s cancer authority, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has determined that glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Monsanto’s first Round Up ready crops – which means the plants have been engineered to stand up to Round Up exposure so that the herbicide can be used to get rid of accompanying weeds – was soy, introduced in 1996. Current Round Up ready crops include soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton and sorghum with wheat in development. Round Up ready seeds are sterile, so that farmers can no longer use the best seeds from a previous crop. Each year they must buy new seeds from Monsanto.

The nonprofit Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) was founded in 2003 by bestselling author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith. The IRT website ( contains valuable information for the consumer.

An interesting article and study on the IRT website indicates that the proliferation of GMO foods and the affect of chemical residue (gylphosate) from Round Up weed killer used in growing these GMO foods may be contributing to the now 18 million Americans with gluten sensitivity.

Despite the protest of consumers across the state, in 2014 California lawmakers rejected the GMO Labeling Bill. Just two years before, Monsanto – makers of Round Up and Round Up ready GMO seeds – spent $46 million to kill Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have mandated GMO labeling.

What can you do to avoid GMO foods?

Keep current on what’s going on with GMOs by signing up for an enewsletter from your choice of informational non-GMO websites. Cook whole foods at home whenever possible. And when you go shopping, look for foods that voluntarily label that they are non-GMO.

Until next time…

Yours in health,

Dr. T

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