Dr. Akiba Green practices near Charlotte, North Carolina. He has recorded a 27 minute YouTube video that provides an excellent overview of why Americans should require their food be labeled if it has been genetically modified. He explains more of the issues surrounding “BT corn” which has the BT bacteria genetically inserted into every cell of the corn. He also talks about soybean problems. Both of these concerns we cover briefly in our class so this is excellent validation.
Deaths Due to Genetically Modified Food
Dr. Green rehearses the 1989 L-tryptophan food supplement disaster in which 37 people died and 1500 were disabled. The actual toll probably was more than 5,000 people, many of whom suffered for years and are still disabled. Some of the victims were children. People taking L-tryptophan had an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). EMS is a rare disorder characterized by severe muscle and joint pain, weakness, swelling of the arms and legs, fever, skin rash, and an increase of eosinophils (certain white blood cells) in the blood. When the link between EMS and L-tryptophan became apparent, the FDA banned its sale. The modified amino acid, L-tryptophan was produced by Showa Dendo K.K., the third largest chemical company in Japan and the major supplier to American manufacturers of the supplement. They settled lawsuits in a $2 billion settlement.
Food Allergy Reactions With GMO Food
Dr. Green also discusses food allergy reactions. In 1996, genes from the brazil nut were spliced into soybean to increase levels of protein in the bean. Genetically modified food is usually only animal tested but fortunately there was limited human testing done in this experiment. Human subjects reacted to allergens in the soybean that came from the gene splicing of the brazil nut! Brazil nut allergies are relatively common and can result in anaphylactic shock and death. If it hadn’t been for the human trial (which is not normally conducted), animal trials would never have shown the problem. Nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population suffer from food allergies and 4 percent of them (12 million people) have serious, life-threatening reactions. Nearly 8% of all children under the age of three have significant reactions. If human testing had not been done in this program, the ramifications would have been catastrophic.
Other similar programs involved having fish genes spliced into tomatoes. Can you imagine someone eating a tomato and having a hyperallergic attack to shell fish for example? They would have no idea of the danger. Fish protein is highly allergenic while tomatoes are very low. Since, genetically modified food is not labeled in the United States, citizens have no idea what they are eating or the ramifications of that altered food on their health.
Watch the video below by Dr. Green to see a great summary of why we in the U.S. should demand labeling of genetically modified food as is required around the world.
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