Who's Afraid of the GMO? part 2-allergies
By Sara Davis on January 13, 2009
Allergic reaction to the products of introduced gene products (the 'foreign'
genes) is one of the primary concerns about GMO's. It is a concern that is
legitimate, but, like "unknown consequences" needs to be put into perspective of
the non-GMO food we eat every day.
Fanatic Cook (among many others)
has been writing about it. Bix links to a very helpful monograph on
the subject of allergenicity in GMO foods. Predicting allergic potential is
difficult and an inaccurate process, at best. All genes used in GMOs at least
go through screening for potential allergenicity. Compare this to the vast
majority of other foods that are effectively only screened on people through
trial and error through a long history of eating.
The main reason the use of GMO grains is not required to be listed
on labels is that the grains are not any more likely to cause allergies (or any
other adverse affect) than their non-GMO counterparts. Voluntary labelling
such as "no-GMO" is allowed, which is something I applaud and support in the
interest of freedom of choice and information.
I've been asked if eating meat from animals fed GMO grain means that we are
eating the GMO proteins themselves? Only to the extent that the particular
modified protein passes through the digestive system wall. In a healthy animal,
most proteins are broken down before they are passed into the blood. If this
were a concern, we should be far more concerned that my pasture-raised cattle
graze ragweed and other highly allergenic plants.
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