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The Scary Side of Genetically Modified

Katie Bezrouch • Sep 25, 2008

In Cudahy, Wisconsin, Sister Luigi Frigo conducts the same experiment with her second grade class every year. The children keep a group of mice in the classroom, and for four days feed them highly processed junk food (containing genetically modified ingredients and preservatives). On the first day the students notice a dramatic difference in the mice’s behavior. They become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. In a similar experiment at a high school in Appleton Wisconsin, the mice “destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it.” according to author Jeffrey Smith. When they returned the mice to a healthy diet for a couple of weeks, they began to act normal again. One year, the class tried to repeat the experiment with the same group of mice a couple of months later, but they refused the food.

This investigation might not be scientifically sound, but it is a valid way to show that what you put into your body effects how you act and feel. Fortunately, this is not the only testing that has been done on genetically modified (GMO) foods.

In 1999, Dr. Arpad Pusztai was working in Scotland on a UK government grant to create a food safety assessment process to test GM foods. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to finish his work – he was fired from his job of 35 years when he voiced his concerns. According to him, the rats that ingested the GMO foods, “developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and showed signs of a damaged immune system.”

Pusztai was the world’s top GMO safety researcher at Rowett Institute when his 20 member research team was dispersed and all records of his work were deserted. And Pusztai is not alone, there are many other government employees and scientists who have been offered bribes, threatened, stripped of their responsibilities, harassed, or fired for reporting negative side effects of GMO foods.

According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, a consumer safety organization, “Genetic engineers continually encounter unintended side effects – GM plants create toxins, react to weather differently, contain too much or too little nutrients, become diseased or malfunction and die. When foreign genes are inserted, dormant genes may be activated or the functioning of genes altered, creating new or unknown proteins, or increasing or decreasing the output of existing proteins inside the plant.  The effects of consuming these new combinations of proteins are unknown.”

This may provide some insight as to why Europe has said “no” to allowing any genetically modified food in their supermarkets. Scientists all over the world are concerned about what we are putting in our ecosystem and ourselves. This maybe a sign for Americans to be more cautious too. In the United States we require labeling of how orange juice is made from concentrate, coffee is hot, and nail polish is flammable. Isn’t it about time companies are required to tell us if our food is genetically engineered?

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