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19 Aug 2014
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Is Your Food Being 'Poisoned'?

Comment

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "poison" as "a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed."

The legal definition of the term is "any product or substance that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, by the wrong person, or in the wrong amount."

The medical condition of poisoning is even broader: It can be caused by substances that are not even legally required to carry the label "poison."

Therefore, can food become poisonous? Of course it can if it is infected, tampered with or altered in any way that causes it to become detrimental to its consumer. In fact, that's what we call "food poisoning."

But what about the genetic engineering, tampering or alteration of our food supply? If it causes bodily harm, even over the long haul, could that be considered poisoning?

I call again to the stand Dr. George Wald, a Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and one of the first scientists to speak out about the dangers of genetically engineered foods. He explained: "Recombinant DNA technology (genetic engineering) faces our society with problems unprecedented, not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. ... Now whole new proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism or their neighbors. ... For going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics."

Last week, I discussed the dangers of genetic engineering to crop seeds and other foods. As a response, one of the readers of "C-Force," my weekly health and fitness column, asked, "What do you think are the best ways to avoid GMOs when they aren't even labeled on food ingredients?"

Let me tell you how I responded.

First, contact your governmental officials, and ask them to endorse or support legislation that requires food companies to start listing whether their products use GMOs.

At least 14 states have introduced legislation on genetically modified ingredient labeling, but most face government gridlock. So take action, and keep foods safe (non-genetically engineered) by contacting your state and federal representatives — as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and tell them to legislate that genetically modified ingredients be labeled on every package.

Ask your federal representatives to support the new federal labeling bill, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the food industry to label all genetically engineered foods and ingredients. In addition, tell your representatives that corn and cotton must not be deregulated, because without strict controls, genetically engineered crops will encroach on non-genetically engineered crops, contaminating them and rendering the organic crops as nonorganic.

The biggest question is: How can we best avoid genetically modified ingredients in our food and elsewhere?

Here are the best ways that I've discovered from GMO and nutrition specialists and resources:

—Educate yourself and your loved ones about GMOs from credible articles, books or videos, such as those mentioned on the websites below or YouTube's "Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) — Myths and Truths."

—Keep up-to-date about anti-GMO trends, legislation and action items by frequenting websites such as the one for the Center for Food Safety, another great GMO watchdog organization (http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org).

—Download the "ShopNoGMO" smartphone app at http://NonGMOShoppingGuide.com or visit http://NonGMOproject.org to help you locate and avoid genetically engineered ingredients wherever you shop.

—Buy certified-organic and local foods.

USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified products cannot intentionally include GMO ingredients.

The USDA explains: "The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can't plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can't eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can't use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren't using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table."

The "Non-GMO Project Verified" label is the only third-party non-GMO verification program in North America. Its website (http://NonGMOproject.org) explains, "Since its incorporation in 2007, the Project has grown into a collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers."

—Avoid at-risk ingredients that are now largely (roughly 90 percent) produced using GMOs, including soybeans, canola, cottonseed, corn and sugar from sugar beets. Unless sugar is labeled as organic or pure cane, it likely contains sugar from genetically modified sugar beets.

The Chicago Tribune reported, "These crops (mentioned above) often are added to processed foods as oils, sweeteners and soy proteins but also can be part of amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, vitamin C, citric acid, sodium citrate, ethanol, flavorings (natural and artificial), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, maltodextrins, microbial growth media, molasses, monosodium glutamate, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, xantham gum, vitamins and yeast products, according to the Non-GMO Project."

Regarding most fruits and vegetables, the Non-GMO Shopping Guide further explains: "Very few fresh fruits and vegetables for sale in the U.S. are genetically modified. Novel products such as seedless watermelons are NOT genetically modified. Small amounts of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and sweet corn may be GM. The only commercialized GM fruit is papaya from Hawaii — about half of Hawaii's papayas are GM. Even if the fruit or vegetable is non-GMO, if it is packaged, frozen or canned, there may be GM additives."

—Buy only dairy products labeled "certified organic," "No rBGH or rBST" or "artificial hormone-free," because some source cows are fed genetically modified feed or injected with genetically modified bovine growth hormone.

—Support and patronize grocers (and commend their management) that offer lines of organic products and eliminate GMO ingredients from their product shelves. For example, Target, H-E-B, Giant Eagle and Meijer recently joined more than 55 other food retailers — including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Aldi, Marsh and Hy-Vee — in agreeing not to sell genetically engineered fish in their stores. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's claim that all their store-brand items originate from non-GMO ingredients.

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's "Official Chuck Norris Page." He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CHUCK NORRIS

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Comments

5 Comments | Post Comment
Humans have been genetically modifying food for tens of thousands of years. We've selected only the best crops for re-planting and inturn, modified the genes of that food. We've also brought crops across continents that they were never intended to grow. Now fear-mongers using junk science are in a tisy about modifying a few protiens in a controlled manner. How many people would starve if not for GMO's? Millions. Millions would die a brutal death at your hands. Is that what anti-biotech people want? All because of "potential" problems. There is one very big trait anti-GMO people and liberals share. Fear. They both use junk science and made up doomsday scenarios to scare the crap out of people. They make up signs with needles going into food. It proves they know nothing about the science behind GMOS. This anti-GMO movements brings about fear and government control. Two things I thought Chuck fought against. I was wrong.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:33 AM
Thanks yet again, Chuck. Trust that you can campaign successfully against the evildoers in power and/or with influence. Note Psalm 114:11, 13 with respect to securing good healthy grown foodstuffs. "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
...That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:"
Comment: #2
Posted by: Alan O'Reilly
Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:33 AM
Chris,
The test for your belief in Chuck being against "government control" will be his response to the latest revelations about the NSA's program of spying on everybody. If Chuck is a true patriot who believes in citizens being free of unnecessary government intrusion into their lives, you will see him strongly address the issue of greatly limiting the scope of the USA PATRIOT act. I'm betting that Chuck's desire to limit government intrusion is limited pretty much to guns, taxes, religion, and health care, but who knows, he might surprise me.

On the "fear" part, remember, this is the guy who produced a video claiming that the re-election of Obama would begin a thousand years of darkness, or some such babble. Chuck doesn't tend to do nuance. On the other hand, given that people read him, perhaps simplistic black and white is just what sells. It certainly can be fun to comment on.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Mark
Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:40 PM
Mark, the NDAA is far worse than the unpatriot act and renders it about obsolete. Perhaps you're stuck on the unpatriot act because it was a Bush thing and the NDAA is an Obama thing. But, yes your right, Chuck does need to come out against both of these un-American bills, but he is too focused on GMOs rather than critiquing government. GMOs are a choice, government is force. I would also like to hear Chucks take on the NSA spying and Ed Snowden. Some conservative writers are all for the spying and deride Snowden. Others want to back Snowden, but are afraid to do so. I've only read of the liberal writers standing up for him.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:35 AM
Chris,
When Chuck babbled about 1,000 years of darkness, I find myself wondering if the 1,000 years began with the 2000 election with the current administration just being a continuation down the dark path. I am not sure if we can return to my quaint 20th century ideas of personal privacy, but I would sure like to try.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Mark
Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:50 PM
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