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Your Opinion: Nothing to fear from GMO foods

Your Opinion: Nothing to fear from GMO foods

March 8th, 2012 by Kristie Scheulen, Loose Creek in News

Dear Editor:

The fear peddlers are at it again.

In response to Robert Allen's concerns about GMO foods. We are not being poisoned.

A GMO is a genetically modified organism that has had its DNA tweaked by genetic engineering techniques as cisgenesis (a transfer of genes between organisms that could be conventionally bred), transgenesis (a transfer of genes between different species) or mutagenesis (changing genes by exposure to radiation or chemicals.)

GMO foods were only first marketed in 1994 with the release of a tomato which was modified to ripen without softening. While it was well received by the public, it was not profitable.

Other GM foods produced are soybeans, field corn, cotton seed, alfalfa, canola, sugarbeets, papaya, zucchini, sweet peppers and by 2013, rice.

Their DNA has been tweaked for various reasons and by various methods designed to enhance the viability of the plant and subsequently its yield while using less pesticides and herbicides.

For example: Bt corn (a field corn used for ethanol production and animal feed) produces a pesticide within the plant that enables it to be resistant to the European corn borer (which can devastate a corn crop) all the while using less pesticides in the field.

Zucchini's DNA has been tweaked to allow resistance to a variety of viruses by using the virus itself.

The GM processes all-in-all are a little lengthy to explain here, but none on the market have been found to cause the problems that Allen has raised.

A 2008 review by the Royal Society of Medicine noted that GM foods had been eaten by millions of people for 15 years with no reports of ill effects.

A similar report in 2004 was released by the U.S. National Academies of Science and in 2010 the European Directorate General for Research and Innovation noted the GMOs were no more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies.

My husband and I have literally consumed tons of Bt corn and Roundup Ready soybean meal without any of the side effects that the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has alleged. Many studies have since refuted those claims.

There's so much more that could be said about GMs - pro and con - but rest assured you need not fear them.