Knowledge Bank

Why are Americans sicker than their British cousins?

The news story about the study that those in Britain are far healthier than their American cousins comes as no surprise to those who’ve been monitoring developments with genetically modified crops or GMOs.

GMO crops are not allowed to be grown in Britain and food containing GMOs are banned from sale. By contrast, in the States, GMOs are in many foods with some farmers being strong-armed into only growing GM varieties.

There have been no tests carried out to prove that this huge gulf in health across a wide range of markers ~ mainly to do with obesity, high chlorestrol and diabetes ~ is anything to do with GMO foods. However, it cannot be mere coincidence that GMOs is the one food we don’t have in common, with 60 – 70 per cent of American processed foods being genetically modified.

The main selling point for GMO foods, we’re being told, is that they are more nutrititious. But one wonders what is meant by ‘more nutritious’. Do they just mean that GM vegetables are bigger? Because quality may be being sacrificed for quantity. Nowhere near enough testing has been done to ensure that GM foods are actually safe.

There is example after example of GMOs causing health problems including one report that was hushed up about lesions occurring in the stomachs of mice that had eaten genetically modified tomatoes.

Again, in 1996, tests on animals showed that there was a severe danger from genes spliced from Brazil nuts and soybeans. Allergic reactions occurred that were so severe that the individuals could suffer anaphylactic shock, possibly leading to death.

Some GMOs foods are toxic enough to affect the physiology of the body. 

A study of people in the Philippines who ate GMO corn found that their bodies developed antibodies to Bt toxin and also a resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin.

If it’s not safe, it’s not healthy

When GMO companies, like Monsanto, insist that their products are safe, they might like to address why no major insurance company has been willing to limit risks, or insure genetically modfied agricultural products and why the British Medical Association called for the outright banning of GM foods and labelling of them in countries where they still existed.

 In addition, more than 800 scientists from all over the world have signed an open letter to the UN, World Trade Organisation and the US Congress about the very serious risks of genetically-modified seeds and GM foods.

The 1,000 member-strong Union of Concerned Scientists, who include Nobel Laureates, has similarly expressed its scientific reservations while the National Academy of Science report on genetically-modified products urged greater scrutiny and assessments. In addition, some FDA scientists have expressed fears and reservations, but they were not listened to.

So let’s hope that these shocking findings about the worsening health of Americans acts as a wake-up call for the public and policymakers alike.

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