GM Crops are Clearly Linked to Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system interprets something as foreign, different, and offensive, and then reacts accordingly. All GM foods, by definition, have something foreign and different. Several studies show that they provoke reactions. Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK soon after GM soy was introduced. The level of one known soy allergen is as much as 7 times higher in cooked GM soy compared to non-GM soy. GM soy also contains an unexpected allergen-type protein not found in natural soy. In addition, of eight human subjects who had a skinprick (allergy-reaction) to GM soy, one did not also react to non-GM soy, suggesting that GM soy is uniquely dangerous.
The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin inserted into crops is harmless to humans because farmers have used the natural Bt-bacteria version as a spray for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to Bt had powerful immune responses and damaged intestines. Filipinos in several villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating and hundreds of laborers in India reported allergic reactions from handling Bt cotton. As mentioned above, thousands of sheep in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after the cotton harvest.
The World Health Organization recommends a protein screening protocol that the GM soy, corn and papaya in our food supply all fail – because they have properties of known allergens.
Another worry, expressed by FDA scientists, was that GM plants might gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals,” or that toxic substances in GM animal feed might bio-accumulate into milk and meat products. Higher levels of such toxic residues could also be the cause of allergic reactions.
While no studies have looked at the bioaccumulation issue, herbicide tolerant crops certainly have higher levels of herbicide residues. Farmers use nearly double the amount of herbicide on GM soy compared to non-GM soy. In fact, many countries had to increase their legally allowable levels—by up to 50 times—in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops.
All of the above risks associated with GM foods are magnified for high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, children, the sick, and the elderly.