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Rising Food Allergies May be Linked to Genetically Engineered Foods

Genetically modified (GM) crops, some of which contain their own built-in pesticides that split open the stomachs of the insects that consume them, are having serious health consequences on humans, according to this excellent article by Jeffrey Smith, the leading U.S. expert on GM foods.

Of particular concern is the pesticide called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which is produced in some GM crops. Though organic farmers have used solutions containing this natural bacteria for years as a method of insect control, GM plants produce about 3,000-5,000 times the amount of toxin as these sprays.

Further, a Bt-producing GM plant continuously produces the toxin in every cell, where it does not dissipate by weather and cannot be washed off, as is the case with the topical solutions.

Mice fed Bt-toxin showed significant immune responses that indicated exposure might make a person allergic to a wide range of substances. Meanwhile:

  • People exposed to Bt sprays have reacted with allergy and flu-like symptoms
  • Hundreds of agricultural workers exposed to Bt cotton have developed allergic reactions
  • Pollen from Bt corn may cause allergies
  • Bt toxin has failed safety studies, but is used nonetheless

GM crops have already been linked to a number of other disturbing events -- such as producing herbicide in your intestines and contributing to the disappearance of honeybees. Only time will tell how many more unforeseen effects will be springing up in the years to come.

Until action is taken to put labels on GM foods, it’s best to protect yourself from these “frankenfoods” now, by choosing foods that are organically grown or raised near you.

Institute for Responsible Technology June 2007