Researchers using advanced computerized analyses have reported that genetically modification of soybeans causes a disruption in plant metabolism, increasing the presence of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and decreasing the plant’s ability to protect itself from stress.
A 2015 study published in Agricultural Sciences suggests that the discovered buildup of formaldehyde along with a dramatic reduction of glutathione, a critical antioxidant necessary for cellular detoxification and health, represent critical factors distinguishing genetically modified (GMO) soybeans from non-GMO soy. In non-GMO plants, according to the study, there is no formaldehyde buildup nor is there a decrease in glutathione.
The findings, based on highly sophisticated analyses, raise the question as to whether the standard methods currently in place to test GMO safety are adequate or unbiased. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently advocates the position of “substantial equivalence” between GMO and non-GMO crops. The new study concludes that better scientific methods are needed to effectively determine if genetic engineering, known to increase stress in plants, may or may not be substantially equivalent non-GMO crops.
My Viewpoint: The argument made for GMO foods by the biotech industry is that they increase productivity and help meet the food demand of a rapidly growing human population. However, is this food really safe for long-term consumption? The American Academy of Environmental Medicine strongly believes, and I agree, that based on multiple animal studies showing ill effects on immunity and fertility, among other things, that engineered foods pose a health risk to humans and should be avoided until subjected to long-term, independent testing.
What This Means to You: These new findings will likely fuel the ongoing debate as to whether GMO foods are really safe, as the biotech industry and government claim, or whether, as some medical organizations claim, they are not. You will also see ongoing battles – on the national and state level − about whether GMO foods should be labeled as such. I believe they should be in order to allow consumers to make an informed purchase. As to whether GMO and non-GMO foods are nutritionally equivalent, a 2014 study clearly indicates they are not. Non-GMO packs more nutrition and much less pesticide residue.
My recommendation: It makes sense to be prudent. Opt for organic and non-GMO, whenever possible. Patronize the local farmers’ market when you can.
- Ayyadurai VAS, Deonikar P. Do GMOs Accumulate Formaldehyde and Disrupt Molecular Systems Equilibria? Systems Biology May Provide Answers. Agricultural Sciences. 2015;6(7):630-662.
- Dean A, Armstrong J. Genetically Modified Foods. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. 2009.
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