5 Reasons Children at Great Risk from GE Foods; 54 Senators Ask the FDA to Label GE Foods

Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Food (Photo credit: Peter Blanchard)

Just like children’s growing little bodies put them at a greater risk of suffering from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals, the same holds true for genetically engineered (GE) foods.

According Seed of Deception, there are five reasons children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of GE foods:

  1. Young, fast-developing bodies are influenced most
  2. Children are more susceptible to allergies
  3. Children are more susceptible to problems with milk
  4. Children are more susceptible to nutritional problems
  5. Children are in danger from antibiotic resistant diseases

We avoid GE foods in our home, but sometimes it is hard to tell without proper labeling. For example, Robert’s Gourmet Pirate Booty refuses to ensure their ingredients are GMO-free.

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you very much for taking the time to address your concerns with us. We value your opinion and truly appreciate your feedback. At this time, we seek out and purchase ingredients from non-GMO sources.

However, due to possible cross-contamination during processing and transportation and naturally occurring cross-pollination we cannot ensure that our products are 100% GMO-free; thus, we feel that it is misleading to our consumers to advertise as non-GMO.

My son love’s Pirate Booty. It is one of the only non-organic snacks I allow.

Just this week, 54 senators and representatives have sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking for required labeling of GE foods.

March 12, 2012
The Honorable Margaret Hamburg
Commissioner
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740-3835

Dear Commissioner Hamburg,

We write to you in support of a recent legal petition, supported by over 400 organizations and businesses, to protect consumer rights and prevent consumer deception by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. FDA’s regulatory regime for food labeling is inadequate and uses 19th century concepts to regulate 21st century food technologies.

As you know, in its 1992 policy statement, FDA allowed GE foods to be marketed without labeling because they were not “materially” different from other foods. In that policy statement, the agency severely limited what it considered “material” to only changes in food that could be recognized by taste, smell, or other senses. The use of novel food technologies like genetic engineering on a commercial scale has so far slipped underneath FDA’s limited threshold for “materiality” because such technologies make silent, genetic, and molecular changes to food that are not capable of being detected by human senses. In its 2009 guidance to industry, FDA applied its outdated GE food labeling policy to GE animals without revisiting the scientific or legal merits of the standard. This decision is especially troubling given FDA’s current consideration of a GE salmon that would be the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption.

At issue is the fundamental right consumers have to make informed choices about the food they eat. Labeling foods doesn’t imply a product is unsafe or will be confusing to consumers as some may argue. The FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives, and processes; providing basic information doesn’t confuse the public, it empowers them to make choices. Absent labeling, Americans are unable to choose for themselves whether to purchase GE foods. Polls have consistently shown that consumers are not only surprised to know that GE foods are not identified, but that they want the federal government to label these products. Since the labeling petition was filed in October 2011, nearly a million comments have been submitted in support of labeling.

The FDA has the opportunity and authority to do right by the American public. When issuing its rule requiring irradiated foods to be labeled, FDA stated in broad terms that a decision to require labeling is not just based on the physical changes to the food but also on whether consumers view such information as important, and whether the omission of label information may mislead a consumer. The fact that FDA has already adopted this broad interpretation of “material” facts demonstrates that it is a reasonable—and therefore permissible—interpretation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

We urge you to fully review the facts, law, and science, and side with the American public by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods as is done in nearly 50 countries throughout the world. FDA has a clear opportunity to protect a consumer’s right to know, the freedom to choose what we feed our families, and the integrity of our free and open markets with this petition. Thank you for your consideration.

It’s about time!

Of the 65 health risks of GE food outlined in Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, children and pregnant women are most at risk.

8.1 Pregnant mothers eating GM foods may endanger offspring

  1. Embryo development can be adversely affected by tiny amounts of substances in the mother’s diet.
  2. A pregnant mother’s diet may even alter gene expression in children and be passed on to future generations.
  3. GM crops may contain substances that impact normal fetal development, but have never been adequately tested for these effects.

8.2 GM foods are more dangerous for children than adults

  1. Children are generally more susceptible to toxins, allergens and nutritional problems.
  2. They consume more milk which may be from cows treated with rbGH.
  3. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant diseases may also significantly impact those children who are prone to recurring infections.

We need GE food labeling, and we need it NOW!

Comments

  1. I can only hope that we can stop this disaster before it gets even more out of hand!

  2. While I agree that, yes, people have the right to know where their food comes from, the fear surrounding the GM issue speaks more to the woeful inadequacy of the public’s lack of scientific understanding than anything else. All of the food we eat has been genetically modified. This process began the moment we began cultivating crops and domesticating animals. Those evil, dreaded scientists have just found a more efficient way to do it. I’m not saying that questions should not be asked, and testing should not be done, but most of what I have read is misinformation, misinterpretation and fear mongering. While it is crucial to consider the impact of our choices on our health and the environment, we should also be careful not to fall victim to the naturalistic fallacy (that just because something is natural, it is inherently better or healthier).

    • The big difference between agriculture of yesteryear and the GE farming today is huge. It used to be that farmers “selected” which animals to breed an which plant traits to continue, thereby influencing which gene pool would continue. They were selecting for traits that were already present, naturally occuring in the very nature of the DNA specific to the species. Today, GE utilizes foreign DNA, often from bacteria or viruses, to promote traits that were unlikely to even develop through selection. It is highly unlikely that soybeans would “naturally” develop resistance to the chemicals in the herbicide Roundup, and thus an alien DNA was introduced into the genome to protect the crop from the massive amounts of chemicals used. So, are selecting for traits over time, and introducing alien DNA using viral vectors, really even close to being the same?

  3. Alien DNA? Interesting choice of (fear-inducing) words. Regardless, the two methods are obviously not exactly the same. But that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. And whether or not this food is safe to eat should not be confused with the separate issue of the over-use of pesticides.

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