Health & Safety

By • September 18, 2017

The following is a video posted at the Super Deluxe YouTube page that asks the question, Are GMOs Safe? This 7 minute explains in great detail many of the misconceptions about GMOs and GMO foods. 

 

To view the video on the Super Deluxe YouTube page, please click here. 

Posted on June 28, 2017
The short answer is no, neither MSG or animal extraction are from GMOs, nor is MSG, animal extraction, or animal products/animal DNA in GMOs.   When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering (also called GE). It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant... Read More
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Posted on June 28, 2017
No. MSG, monosodium glutamate, is a chemical additive, certainly not a GMO.
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Posted on June 28, 2017
Monosodium glutamate is mainly produced by a fermentation process with sugar as a starting material. It is not GMO. Plants that have been genetically modified do not contain any animal residue or byproducts.
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By • September 14, 2017

The following is an article by Andrew Porterfield posted to the Genetic Literacy Project website that debunks the common myth that GMOs are causing a spike in new allergies. 

Over the last 30 years, reported cases of food allergies — especially in young children — have gone up.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4 percent of children under 18 have some kind of food or digestive allergy. That number represents an increase of 18 percent for all food allergies among children between 1997 and 2007.

For some foods, the increase has been even greater. For example, peanut allergy prevalence has quadrupled from 0.4 percent in 1997 to more than 2 percent in 2010. In fact, peanut allergy is now the leading cause of anaphylactic shock — the most severe form of allergy — due to food in the United States. And the problem isn’t just confined to the US: hospital admissions for food-related anaphylaxis has seen a seven-fold rise in the United Kingdom since 1990.

So, what’s going on? Assuming these increases are bona fide, what’s causing them?

There is no short list of culprits. Microbiome, Western diet, and socioeconomic status to name a few. A number of groups have also blamed genetically modified food. According to the Organic Consumers Association, the main trade group for the organic food industry:

Genetic engineering, for instance, can increase existing allergens, or produce new, unknown allergens. Both appear to have happened in genetically modified (GM) soy, which is found in the majority of processed foods.

Jeffrey Smith, head of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of the books Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, weighed in withthis advice:

Beginning in 1996, genes from bacteria and viruses have been forced into the DNA of soy, corn, cotton, and canola plants, which are used for food. Ohio allergist John Boyles is one of a growing number of experts who believe that these genetically modified (GM) foods are contributing to the huge jump in food allergies in the US, especially among children.

However, of the foods that most frequently cause food allergy, GM versions simply don’t exist.

There is no GM peanut (although development of a hypoallergenic GM peanut is ongoing). There is no GM milk. Or consumable GM egg (although there is now that makes medicine). However, a few cases of allergenicity cropped up during early experiments involving genetically engineered foods, which piqued concerns.

  • The first, in 1996, involved the transfer of a Brazil nut protein into a soybean to enhance the soy’s nutrition. However, the allergenic properties of the Brazil nut protein 2S albumin, a common allergen, also were transferred over and triggered an allergic reaction in experimental human volunteers. The 2S albumin was transferred because of its methionine (an essential amino acid) content. The experiment was halted.
  • The second involved an Australian experiment in 2005 on mice in which a bean protein designed to resist the pea weevil (an insect pest) ended up triggering severe immune reactions in the mice. While the alpha-amylase inhibitor protein itself was expressed in mice, it had changed glycosylation (sugars that coat the protein). Glycosylation is a very specific, and changes in these sugar coatings can trigger an immune response against the “new” protein. Not only was this found out quickly through a thorough study, today’s immunological products have more ways to significantly reduce these changes in glycosylation.

Both of these incidents show one of three ways an allergy risk could possibly increase from GM foods. The incidents involve transferring a known allergen (either a Brazil nut protein, or glycosylation) into a food crop. A second way is to increase the inherent ability of a GM crop to cause allergies. However, no studies have found heightened intrinsic allergenicity when compared with non-biotech equivalents. The third way involves the creation of a brand new, novel protein that could trigger an allergy. Though this last possibility, of a “franken-protein,” has caught media attention and been used by anti-GMO groups, it has not yet happened.

European Union health agencies, and member nation health agencies, as well as the US FDA, EPA and USDA, are all involved in necessary rigorous assessments of GM foods (or any other foods) for allergic potential. The EPA, in fact, maintains an extensive list of foods that could trigger allergies. Another resource used to test for allergens is the University of Nebraska’s Allergen Online, which matches amino acid sequences of possible allergens with reference proteins known to cause allergies. And, so far, no single biotechnology-based protein in food has been found to cause an allergic reaction.

While any food could cause an allergic reaction in somebody, some patterns have arisen:

  • First, allergens are nearly all proteins. Thus, by studying the amino acid sequence of a potential genetically engineered protein and comparing to amino acid sequences of known allergens, it is relatively straightforward task to determine early on if a protein might cause problems.
  • Nearly all allergens trigger a complex immune system process that results in the creation of antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin type E). An allergy is triggered by the second exposure to the allergen, by triggering a reaction from IgE. However, the specific proteins that trigger this reaction vary a great deal.
  • While food allergies can come from any food, the overwhelming majority (90 percent) come from eight foods: Peanuts, wheat, soy, milk, shellfish, fish, eggs and tree nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds). In children, most allergies are caused by eggs, milk, and peanuts.
  • Allergies are not the same as intolerances, such as lactose intolerance. Intolerances are caused by different molecular and biological mechanisms, such as the absence of an enzyme (like lactase), and don’t necessarily require the complete avoidance that allergies do. They are not the same as toxins, which create an immediate reaction on first exposure.

If not GMOs, then what?

The causes behind the increase in food allergies are not known. While anti-GMO groups have pointed to biotechnology, there are other proposed causes, each with a varying degree of data to support each:

  • The “hygiene hypothesis,” which proposes that a more germ-free existence during infancy and early childhood doesn’t trigger immune reactions to pathogens at an early age. This means, the hypothesis goes, that such immune systems don’t recognize true pathogens and reacts instead to what should be harmless stimuli (i.e., food).
  • Birth by caesarean section, because a baby born this way does not acquire its mother’s gastrointestinal bacteria that it would during a vaginal birth. This development of the infant’s microbiome could help boost immunity to pathogens, but without proper (or any) development, allergies may result. Babies born by caesarean section do appear to have a higher risk of developing food allergies.
  • Food additives, like sulfites and sodium benzoate, may trigger reactions in some people. Artificial sweeteners and food colorings may also cause allergies in sensitive people. These additives are common parts of nearly all foods, and while some are added during processing, others are natural.
  • Genetics and inheritability aren’t very clearly linked to food allergies, especially when viewing them in general. A Johns Hopkins study found a 20 percent penetrance (the degree to which a version of a gene causes the predicted phenotype) of genes around two significant immune genes, HLA-DR and HLA-DQ, associated with peanut allergy, but they also found that not everybody with these genes gets an allergic reaction.

The typical treatment for food allergy is avoidance. However, some studies have shown some there may be a better treatment, as well as insights into the etiology of allergies.

  • A British study on peanuts carefully measured allergic reaction in 500 infants when the children reached five years of age. All the infants were at high-risk of peanut allergy, and when they were five, given an oral challenge (basically, given a peanut and then measured for a reaction). 17.2 percent of children who had avoided peanuts since infancy had an allergic reaction, while just 3.2 percent of the children who had consumed peanuts since infancy had an allergic reaction. In addition, among children who had no apparent risk of allergy, 13.7 percent of children who avoided peanuts did have an allergy, while just 1.9 percent of children who ate peanuts had such an allergy.
  • A large Australian survey of more than 5,000 infants found that risks of allergy included parents born overseas (especially from Asia), delayed consumption of eggs, peanuts and sesame, and family history. Dogs, however, were apparently protective from allergic risks.
  • A University of Chicago team fed Clostridium bacteria (the same genus, but not the same species as C. difficile, the scourge of hospital-acquired infections worldwide) to mice that had been raised in sterile environments. With no microbiome developed in their intestinal systems, the mice developed severe allergic reactions to peanuts. Clostridium, however, fought off the allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions are complex. Even though eight foods cause most allergies, many more can cause specific reactions, because everybody’s intestinal, nervous and immune systems are different (not to mention their genetics). While certain genetically engineered experimental foods were found to have allergens, these allergens were known and caught by researchers in early stages, just as a test on organic peanuts would also show a potential allergic reaction in sensitive people. And further studies have shown that transgenics technology does not make a food any more allergenic — but neither does it automatically make it less (unless the target trait is allergenicity).

To read this entire article at the Genetic Literacy Project website, please click Are GMOs responsible for a spike in food allergies?

Posted on June 22, 2017
This site is dedicated to presenting the facts and research behind GMOs, agriculture and biotechnology. We work with appropriate experts, scientists and academia to get answers and information to any and all questions submitted to the website.   GMO Answers was created to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs. The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GM crops on the market today, but we... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. So yes, by design, to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering, the genome of the new, GE variety has been changed by the addition of new genes(s).     Your question also asks about whether inserting the new gene(s) will “…activate genes…” Some traits in... Read More
Posted on August 15, 2017
No! However, poor nutrition coupled with highly processed foods and a lack of education regarding healthy eating is bad for our kids. As a mother and farmer, I believe the best way to keep my family safe and healthy is to make sure they eat a balanced diet and make good food choices daily. Fresh, healthy ingredients and minimally processed foods that are low in sugar, salt, calories and cholesterol provide kids with the best opportunity for a healthy diet. Agricultural biotechnology... Read More
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QHow can I be assured of the grain I am getting from Grain Craft Montana is free from glyphosate? Which mills from Grain Craft Montana receive glyphosate free flour? What are the specific pesticides being used by Montana Wheat Growers who supply these mill

How can I be assured of the grain I am getting from Grain Craft Montana is free from glyphosate? Which mills from Grain Craft Montana receive glyphosate free flour? What are the specific pesticides being used by Montana Wheat Growers who supply these mills?
Posted on August 15, 2017
No! However, poor nutrition coupled with highly processed foods and a lack of education regarding healthy eating is bad for our kids. As a mother and farmer, I believe the best way to keep my family safe and healthy is to make sure they eat a balanced diet and make good food choices daily. Fresh, healthy ingredients and minimally processed foods that are low in sugar, salt, calories and cholesterol provide kids with the best opportunity for a healthy diet. Agricultural biotechnology... Read More
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Posted on February 9, 2017
A species is defined by the ability to reproduce viable offspring, so any two plants within a species generally have the potential to cross pollinate. Like any good successful mating, it requires the union of male and female contributions at the right time, same place. So absolutely, GE crops have the potential to cross with non-GE crops of the same species—if they manage to get it on through time and space.    So the rules that apply to dogs and teenagers also apply to... Read More
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Posted on March 2, 2017
Here is a set of slides prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that discusses the sketch approval process. As the slides indicate, there are four categories of labels that require prior sketch approval: temporary labels, religious exemption, exports with labeling deviations, and special statements and claims. In the situation raised by your question, it is the last category (special statements and claims) that would... Read More
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By • September 12, 2017

The following is an excerpt of an article from the Capital Press about an upcoming event at the University of Idaho discussing GMOs

An upcoming speaker at the University of Idaho plans to share his experiences in compiling a study about the realities of GMOs.

Fred Gould, professor of agriculture at North Carolina State University, served as chairman of a National Academy of Sciences committee that issued a report in 2016 about genetically engineered crops over the past 20 years, and what’s coming in the future. The resulting 600-page report considered health and environmental safety and agricultural impacts.

Gould will summarize the report and explain why “it might be reasonable to trust what we found (and) how we went about collecting all this information,” he told the Capital Press.

Gould will speak alongside journalist and science communicator Cara Santa Maria 6 p.m., Sept. 18, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow, Idaho, as part of UI’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Speaker Series. The title of the presentation is ‘“What’s For Dinner?: A Guide to Understanding GMOs.” The event is free and open to the public.

“There is a continuing need to communicate the science and what GMOs can offer growers and consumers, and what they can’t,” said Joseph Kuhl, associate professor of plant genetics at UI.

Gould said he hopes to convey to the public how a researcher goes about separating the wheat – useful information – from the chaff, which ranges from “Everything is going to kill you,” to “Without genetic engineering, we can’t feed the world.”

Please visit the Capital Press website to read the rest of the article. 

Posted on April 12, 2017
There are no GM tomatoes on the market but there is quite a bit of misinformation about GM crops on the Internet – for example “spooky” Fish DNA in tomatoes - that is designed to mislead and scare consumers.                                             ... Read More
Posted on June 22, 2017
This site is dedicated to presenting the facts and research behind GMOs, agriculture and biotechnology. We work with appropriate experts, scientists and academia to get answers and information to any and all questions submitted to the website.   GMO Answers was created to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs. The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GM crops on the market today, but we... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. So yes, by design, to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering, the genome of the new, GE variety has been changed by the addition of new genes(s).     Your question also asks about whether inserting the new gene(s) will “…activate genes…” Some traits in... Read More

By • September 08, 2017

The following is a guest column by V. Ravichandran at the Global Farmer Network highlighting the story and benefits of Golden Rice. 

Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.

I see these poor people all over India, where I live, but their suering knows no borders: The problem of vitamin-A deciency curses dozens of countries in the developing world. It causes visual impairment in millions of people. As many as half a million children go blind each year. Hundreds of thousands die within months of losing their eyesight.

What a heart-rending tragedy.

The good news is that science teaches us how to prevent this crisis. The bad news is that manmade complications keep getting in the way.

The solution is simple: We must commercialize golden rice, a crop that fights the problem of vitamin-A deciency.

Golden rice gets its name from its yellow color, which comes from beta-carotene, a rich source of vitamin A. Through the innovative technology of genetic modication, scientists have learned how to pack extra beta-carotene into golden rice, promising to improve the quality of life for countless numbers of people.

Just about everybody eats rice, but people in the United States and Europe tend to underestimate the importance of this staple crop in the developing world. An American friend recently asked me about my eating habits in India. I mentioned that I eat rice at lunch and dinner and even at breakfast, often as a pancake-like food called “idli.” Asians consume about 90 percent of all the world’s rice.

In a normal Indian diet, about three-quarters of our calories come from carbohydrates. This is more than ideal, but it’s also a fact of life in a nation that relies on rice—a food that plays an important role in Hindu rituals and whose history traces back to millennia-old Vedic scriptures.

Because of its cultural and economic signicance, rice is a perfect delivery mechanism for essential nutrients, and advances in biotechnology have taught us how to put them there. Around the world, scientic organizations and Nobel laureates have conrmed the safety and potential of golden rice.

As a farmer, I know the value of GMOs. They’ve improved my ability to grow cotton, for example. I also recognize the challenges: It takes years of laboratory experiments and eld trials before a biotech crop reaches the market.

Golden rice now stands on the threshold of success. Research organizations in the Philippines—a country plagued by vitamin-A deciency—are seeking the approval of their government to move forward with commercialization. This is an essential step and it would put the Philippines in a position to demonstrate the potential of golden rice to the rest of the world. In the future, millions of people in India and elsewhere would benet from its pioneering choice.

Yet the Philippines cannot act alone. We live in a global economy. Almost nothing happens in isolation anymore—and so Australia and New Zealand face their own important decision.

There are currently no plans to grow golden rice in Australia or New Zealand, wealthy nations where hunger and malnutrition are almost nonexistent. Yet both countries trade heavily with the Philippines. They also work together on food standards. Because of this, they must adopt regulations that will allow trace amounts of golden rice to show up in the rice they import from the Philippines. If they refuse, they will disrupt Filipino agriculture and smother a life-saving innovation with unprecedented potential.

That would be a tremendous shame. Nobody has anything to fear from golden rice. It’s as safe to eat as any other kind of rice. The only dierence between golden rice and conventional rice is the added benet of biofortication. Rice, our staple food when fortied with Vitamin A will be most eective because it is our routine food. Whether rich or poor, no one will be missed.

We have a remarkable chance to take advantage of a brand-new tool for beating vitamin-A deciency. Rice farmers like me can not only produce food to drive away hunger, we can also eradicate hidden hunger as well. I believe that gives us a moral obligation to help the children who will go blind without our intervention. Shouldn’t they enjoy the opportunity to live normal lives? Failing to help them is a crime against humanity.

At least that’s how it looks from India, where I see evidence of this symptom of malnutrition in the eyes of children every day as I walk through my village.

I am hopeful that the governments of the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand will see the light—and not deny it to a new generation of doomed children.

Click here to read the original guest column at the Global Farmer Network website

Posted on April 12, 2017
There are no GM tomatoes on the market but there is quite a bit of misinformation about GM crops on the Internet – for example “spooky” Fish DNA in tomatoes - that is designed to mislead and scare consumers.                                             ... Read More
Posted on June 22, 2017
This site is dedicated to presenting the facts and research behind GMOs, agriculture and biotechnology. We work with appropriate experts, scientists and academia to get answers and information to any and all questions submitted to the website.   GMO Answers was created to do a better job answering your questions — no matter what they are — about GMOs. The biotech industry stands 100 percent behind the health and safety of the GM crops on the market today, but we... Read More
Posted on March 2, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. So yes, by design, to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering, the genome of the new, GE variety has been changed by the addition of new genes(s).     Your question also asks about whether inserting the new gene(s) will “…activate genes…” Some traits in... Read More

By • September 07, 2017

The following is an exceprt of an article published in The Independent (UK) about new research with genetically modified bananas that could help cut infant mortality in Africa. 

A genetically modified banana which has the potential to dramatically reduce infant mortality and blindness in childrenacross Africa is to undergo its first human trials in a major step towards becoming a staple for millions of people.

The GM banana developed by Australian scientists is enriched with vitamin A to combat a nutritional deficiency which leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths, and children losing their sight across the world every year.

Researchers hope that the bioengineered crop, which increases the level of beta-carotene in a particular type of cooking banana grown in East Africa, will go into commercial production in Uganda by 2020 if proven to be effective at producing increased levels of vitamin A.

The banana is one of a series of GM organisms - from a vitamin A-enhanced rice variety to a mosquito that could help combat malaria - which scientists and their backers say could have a massive effect on problems of malnutrition and disease in the developing world. Critics of the research argue the long term implications of the technique are unknown and low-tech solutions such as improved farming techniques and the provision of supplements may be cheaper and more effective.

To read the entire story at The Independent website, please click here

Posted on June 28, 2017
The short answer is no, neither MSG or animal extraction are from GMOs, nor is MSG, animal extraction, or animal products/animal DNA in GMOs.   When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering (also called GE). It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant... Read More
Answer:
Posted on June 28, 2017
No. MSG, monosodium glutamate, is a chemical additive, certainly not a GMO.
Answer:
Posted on June 28, 2017
Monosodium glutamate is mainly produced by a fermentation process with sugar as a starting material. It is not GMO. Plants that have been genetically modified do not contain any animal residue or byproducts.
Answer:

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