What are genetically modified food, its historic view, and struggle of Pakistan in developing BT Cotton?

             

The article includes;

  • Brief introduction of BT crops.
  • Historic touch of BT and Genetic revolution.
  • Merits and demerits of BT.
  • Role of Pakistan in development of BT cotton.
  • Conclusion.

Genetically Modified Crops or Foods:

The technology that uses genetic engineering to modify the DNA. These plants are used in agriculture. It involves insertion of DNA into genome of an organism. In order to produce GM plant, the desired DNA is inserted into plant cell, then the cell is grown in tissue culture where the develop into a new plant, thus seed produced by this plant will have inherited DNA.

GMO Age:

Co-Author names: Dr. Faisal Hafeez1, Ayesha Iftikharr2, Muhammad Sohaib3.

1 Assistant Entomologist at Entomological Research Institute (ERI), Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), Faisalabad.

2 Agricultural Officer at Entomological Research Institute (ERI), Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), Faisalabad.

3Institute of agricultural sciences (IAGS), University of The Punjab, Lahore.

Author’s E-mail: m.sohaib897@gmaill.com

Actually the history of GMO crops is interesting to know. Usually, the prehistoric farmers used most reproductive plants and seeds for effective yield up to 10,000 years. But what was the change in 20th century, scientist started to use selective individual traits at gene level and controlling placement of gene in new crop.

Scientific study of gene:

Austrian monk Gregor Mendel systematically crossed varieties of garden peas in 1860s. Thus for the first time he introduced the concept of a “gene” as a unit of heredity. So in 1968, Chemist Friedrich Meischer introduced DNA, Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid. But at that time, scientists thought that the process of genetics means to produce new verities or traits was too simple.

Oswald Avery determined DNA as the true carrier of molecular information in 1944, meanwhile in 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick described molecular shape of DNA called as a double helix structure. It was the main step towards genetic engineering. Then came invention of first genetically modified plant in 1983 by using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant.

Meanwhile different scientist too their part in GMO history. Like in 1990s, chymosin was approved in several countries. We all know cheese is made by using the enzyme rennet that was extracted from cows’ stomach lining. Scientists produced chymosin by using bacteria, which also has ability to clot milk, resulting in formation of cheese.

The mechanism of gene splicing started from 1972. In this year, techniques were developed that made it possible to chemically cut and splice strands of DNA Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer at specific places in the sequence. In 1976, they introduced human genes that produce insulin in the bacteria. Those bacteria had ability to produce insulin. After this, they manufactured human growth hormone that was used for the dwarf children to grow to normal size. Before genetic modification techniques, certain drugs were used. Thus Gene-splicing technology revolutionized the food industry in 1990.

BT-Crops:

The next step in genetic engineering was development of BT crops. They are named for Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), a bacteria that naturally secrete substance that repels certain insect pest. The aim of BT crops is to produce toxin substance in every cell of plant as produced by bacteria, in order to protect the crop from pest. But the point of ponder is that, BT resistance is also observed against certain pest due to which threat to organic farming is being faced.  In 1995, the first BT crop was made against Colorado Potato Beetle Resistant BT Potato by Monsanto.

List of BT crops:

The BT crops are;

  • Corn.
  • Potato.
  • Cotton.
  • Cottonwood.
  • Brinjal.
  • Rice.
  • Soy.

Advantages of BT Crops:

  • The decrease use of pesticide causes the prevention of soil pollution.
  • Due to less use of chemicals, we can prevent beneficial insects.
  • Labour is reduced.
  • The shelter of insect pest is destroyed.
  • It is environmentally save and cost effective as number of spray is reduced.

Disadvantages of BT Crops:

  • The cost of BT crops is high as compared to normally grown crops.
  • These crops may cause severe skin allergies.

Role of Pakistan in BT:

The technical name of cotton is Gossypium hersutum and it belong to Malvaceae family. Pakistan did work on development of BT cotton. This cotton is used against American bollworm.

Cotton is called as white gold and is important cash crop. It is reason for 8.2 percent of the value added in agriculture and about 3.2 percent to GDP. Lives of several paper is depending upon cotton crop from like farmer community, textile community etc. In whole world, Pakistan is fourth-largest producer of cotton.

In the Pakistan, there are two main type of pest – sucking and chewing. The sucking pests usually controlled by chemical exposure but the sucking pest are main reason for crop loss due to their unique damaging characters i.e. known as Bollworms – American, Army, Pink and Spotted bollworm are major causes to decrease cotton crop yield and lint quality. Another recent disease cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) spread in Punjab and Sindh pushed our institutes.

Thus Pakistan focused on development of BT Cotton, and on that time Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz himself said that farmers should grow BT openly, there was also Government support to them. And other ministries also focused on growing BT cotton. In order to fulfil this plan different Pakistani Agricultural research institute released different BT varieties like “IR-FH-901”, “IR-NIBGE-2”, “IR-CIM-448” and “IR-CIM-443”; and recently released NIAB-886 and NIAB-777.

This articleconcludes that there are several benefits and risks of agriculturalbiotechnologies, including GM crops.  Itis up to us how we improve these technologies and new research for our use thatwould help farmers too. We just need to bring new innovation for our farmers sothat they can grow crops at high yield bearing low expenses so that we cancontrol problem of starvation too.

The cultivated areafor BT cotton varieties is Punjab – Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffer Garh and KarorPakka. Then farmers independently visited their farmers and compared the yieldof BT cotton with non BT cotton, they also noticed the tendency of insect peston both crops.

Conclusion:

This article concludes that there are severalbenefits and risks of agricultural biotechnologies, including GM crops.  It is up to us how we improve thesetechnologies and new research for our use that would help farmers too. We justneed to bring new innovation for our farmers so that they can grow crops athigh yield bearing low expenses so that we can control problem of starvation too.

GM debate reaches deadlock

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GM debate reaches deadlock: Opinion on genetically modified foods remains divided, but can such agricultural technology help to avoid widespread and imminent famine?

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GM is everywhere – not in the sense of fields and foods, but in public debate and the press. 

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been championed in the fight against the threatened “banana apocalypse” by fungal diseases, but challenged on safety grounds by the Norwegian government. 

Engineered to help tackle vitamin-A deficiency, “golden rice” has been heralded as both a potential lifesaver by Danish author Bjørn Lomborg and a hoax by Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva. 

Biotech giant Monsanto has been seen holding open-house on the social networking website reddit, but heard under attack on the new album by Neil Young. Like it or loathe it, you cannot ignore it – GM makes news. 

Top 5 areas of biotech crops in 2014

However, to have the issue front and centre in the agriculture and food debate is more hindrance than help, argues Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association

“GM is a huge distraction. At best, pro-GM campaigners claim they have a solution to one or two problems,” he says. “The technology cannot deliver integrated solutions to the range of challenges facing farming – climate change, hunger, loss of wildlife, poor animal welfare, soil degradation, and all other environmental and human problems caused by industrial agriculture.” 

This tendency of GM to hog the public agenda is also a source of frustration for Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank. “The thing that happens when you are talking about GMOs is the issue itself takes up all the oxygen in the room,” she says. 

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What troubles her more, though, is lack of progress. “My concern is that investment and research into GMOs has been going on for more than 20 years now and we still have about a billion people hungry,” she says. “We are still grappling with the same challenges we were grappling with 40 years ago. GMOs haven’t lived up to their promises.”

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One key media battleground at present is the issue of the use of chemicals, with a case for GM made by Professor Jonathan Jones, of the Sainsbury Laboratory, in Norwich. He points out: “Already, there has been a vast reduction in insecticide applications worldwide. Over 400,000 tons of insecticide – nerve poisons – have not been applied thanks to GM.” 

While Professor Jones acknowledges that usage totals for certain herbicides have gone up, particularly glyphosate, (a hot topic at present, with its own hashtag in hourly use on Twitter), he suggests this is because of their being substituted in place of what he describes as “nastier” alternatives. 

Forecasting reductions in fungicide applications from next year, when the potato blight resistance gene he cloned is deployed commercially in the United States, Professor Jones also tips Brazil for the country to watch, as biotech inputs begin eating into $1 billion-worth of fungicide applications used annually to control soybean rust. 

[ads-quote-center cite=’agrinfobank.com.pk’]

This has to move to being an issue of social justice or the poorest of the poor will continue to suffer needlessly. An important general point is that GM is just a method, not a thing, and it can be deployed to address many different agricultural problems, but only if there is a cost-effective business model for either private or public-sector actors.

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He is at pains to place GM in context. “An important general point is that GM is just a method, not a thing, and it can be deployed to address many different agricultural problems, but only if there is a cost-effective business model for either private or public-sector actors,” he says. 

For Rich Kottmeyer, senior vice president at Cheetah Development, getting the numbers to add up constitutes the day job, working to make smallholders investible. Mr Kottmeyer contends it is not just a matter of the total global shortfall in future food production that makes GM a must-have, but how the figures break down geographically. “Productivity gains are very uneven,” he says. “Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to reach only 13 per cent of food needs. If we don’t use all tools and techniques, we must be comfortable with an outcome of hunger and malnutrition that could have been prevented.” 

In Mr Kottmeyer’s analysis, willingness to embrace modern practices, including GMO, approaches a moral imperative. “The gap between agricultural ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is astonishing. Data clearly shows that it is the poor smallholder farmer that suffers the most from a lack of technology access,” he says. 

“Ironically, the hungry bear the brunt of the fight and have little voice. This has to move to being an issue of social justice or the poorest of the poor will continue to suffer needlessly.” 

For Ms Nierenberg, though, GM is part of an ag-tech image problem. “When people think technology, they think GM and they can’t think anything else. It makes technology seem bad and technology isn’t bad in agriculture,” she says. “If we are concerned about figuring out the challenges – whether climate change, hunger or protecting the environment – we need technology to do that.” 

Biotech crops factfile

The debate about the urgent need for technology in agriculture is perhaps strongest in relation to Africa, where food insecurity is highest and GM slow to gain acceptance. 

Reality for the have-nots there is stark, concludes Richard Munang, Co-ordinator of the United Nations’ African regional climate change programme. “In Africa, the major vulnerability is climate driven – 25 per cent go to bed hungry, more than 200 million suffer chronic to severe malnutrition, which also accounts for over 50 per cent infant mortality,” says Dr Munang. 

“In the face of climate change, 11 to 40 per cent declines in productivity of key staple foods in the continent are projected, implying a 25 to 90 per cent increase in the undernourished by 2050.” 

Led by the UN Environment Programme and acknowledged by the African Union, the call is for policies of ecosystem-based adaptation. The role for GM is still up for negotiation, backed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, but facing political resistance and public unease. 

With strong opinions across continents both for and against GMOs, media controversy is seldom far away. In the face of an impending global food crisis, healthy debate about the future role of technology in sustainable agriculture is desirable, even essential. However, associated delay and disruption is not. 

Against the clock, the question to ask is not perhaps whether GM is the answer, but whether GM is the question. 

GMO challenges: Ministry asked to call crucial meeting

The Federal Law Ministry has finally given a ruling, asking Climate Change Ministry to convene a meeting of National Bio-Safety Committee for granting approval to the long-awaited 15 Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) of cotton varieties for commercialisation, sources revealed. GMO challenges Ministry asked to call crucial meeting 300x300 GMO challenges: Ministry asked to call crucial meeting

Well-placed sources revealed to Business Recorder that Textile division had approached Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the reportedly delaying tactics by the Climate Change Ministry for convening a meeting of NBC.

Prime Minister on January 16, 2014 constituted a committee comprising Secretary Textile division, Secretary Law and Secretary Climate Change and directed them to hold a meeting within 10 days for resolving the issue. The committee met last week and Law division gave a ruling asking for convening a meeting of NBC to grant approval for commercialisation of cotton seeds, sources maintained.

Certified cotton seed was becoming a serious issue as no BT certified cotton seed would be available for cultivation for the upcoming crop season due to non-approval of GMO cotton varieties by NBC which might encourage the seed-mafia, besides negatively impacting commodity production, official maintained.

Official sources revealed that Pakistan being a signatory to the international Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety had to regulate GMO through establishing a Bio-safety system in the country. NBC and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (PEPA) have responsibility to evaluate, regulate and monitor GMO for lab or field research and their commercial scale production or marketing in the country.

The NBC had not held its meeting since February 2011, which had delayed the regulatory process required to test and approve GMOs crops, said sources, adding that applications submitted by various public and private sectors organisations seeking approval of different GMO crops were yet to be reviewed by the NBC.

Currently only transgenic crop commercially cultivated in Pakistan is cotton and eight BT varieties and one cotton Hybrid were approved by Punjab Seed Council (PSC) in April 2010 and commercialisation certificate was granted by NBC. In February 2012, PSC provisionally approved eight BT varieties (Tarzen-1, MNH-886, NS-141, FH-114, IR-NIBGE-3, CIM-598, Sitara-009, A-One) subject to the grant of commercialisation certificate from the NBC and TAC had to clear cases before consideration in NBC, sources maintained.

BT cotton varieties in Pakistan, which were granted certificate for three years (now expired) included IR-3701, Neelum-121, FH-113, Sitara-008, MG-6, Ali Akbar-703, Ali Akbar 802, IR-1524 and GN Hybrid-2085. BT cotton varieties waiting for commercialisation certificate included Tarzen-1, VH-259, MNH-886, BH-178, NS-141, CIM-599, FH-114, CIM-602, IR-NIBGE-3, FH-118, CIM-598, FH-142, Sitara 009, IR-NIBGE-824, A-One IUB-222, Sayaban-201, Sitara-11M, A-555, KZ-181, Tarzan-2 and CA-12.

Source: Business Recorder

GMOs and pesticides create super-pests

One of the expected advantages to genetically modified crops is their proposed ability to withstand onslaughts from weeds and other pests that could damage or destroy crops. Unfortunately, that’s not the way mother nature works. Yes, these crops may be resistant to the original stains of weeds and pests they were engineered for, but they are not resistant to the new super-weeds that have come in their place.

Mutations and resistance

GMOs and pesticides create super pests 300x300 GMOs and pesticides create super pestsSimilar to bacterial infections in humans, once a host becomes resistant to a strain, that strain simply mutates so that it can stay one step ahead. The cycle then continues and new pesticides and GMOs must be formulated to withstand the new threats. These new threats; however, become more and more difficult to kill which is why stronger and more dangerously toxic pesticides must continue to be developed. This unnatural cycle cannot last forever though and the day will come when these super-weeds and super-pests will prevail.

Things are getting worse, fast

According to research professor Charles Benbrook at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at WSU, genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in total pesticide use, by 404 million pounds in the last 14 years. “Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said. In recent years, more than two dozen weed species have become immune to Roundup’s principal ingredient, glyphosate. “Things are getting worse, fast,” says Benbrook “In order to deal with rapidly spreading resistant weeds, farmers are being forced to expand use of older, higher-risk herbicides.”

To illustrate the problem…

The use of Bt corn is a great way to illustrate the resistance problem. Bt corn is genetically changed to express the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin, which is toxic to insect pests. By law, farmers in the U.S. who plant Bt corn are required to plant non-Bt corn nearby. These non-GMO fields are to provide a location to harbor pests. The concept behind this technique is to slow the evolution of the pests’ resistance to the Bt pesticide. Clearly the problem has gotten way out of hand when there is a law that exists specifically to slow the progression of resistance in pests. Instead of recognizing that the current system is broken, big agriculture companies like Monsanto turn a blind eye and force farmers to increase the use of pesticides.

Mother Nature’s design

Mother Nature has a very special system that does not involve man-made chemicals or genetically modified crops. If fact, this is one of the very reasons mid-sized organic farming is the most efficient kind. “And how do crops survive the pests without GMOs, chemical fertilizers or pesticides?” you might ask. The answer is simple; centuries old techniques such as crop rotation, inter-cropping, residue management, roguing, regulating seed quality and applying natural insecticides are used. These sometimes labor intensive techniques have no place in the industrial agriculture system who’s goal is to automate and standardize as much of the process as possible in an attempt to turn out the largest yield and the most profits.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/insects/fad64s00.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_maize#Bt_corn

By: John McKiernan

Source: Natural News

Consumer alert: Most common vitamins found to contain GMOs

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
by
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

A Natural News investigation reveals that an alarmingly large number of multivitamins and individual nutrient vitamins are formulated with ingredients derived from genetically modified corn.
This is the “dirty little secret” of the vitamin industry, but it’s not one the mainstream media will touch because they refuse to admit GMOs are a problem to begin with. Those in the know, however, realize that eating any ingredients derived from GMOs may expose them to the BT insecticide chemicals found in GM corn.
GMOs are truly “hidden” in vitamins because the GM-derived ingredients are so heavily processed that all DNA is destroyed in the process, thereby destroying any footprint of genetic modification. Genetic ID tests, in other words, require particles of the food to remain relatively intact so that PCR lab equipment can replicate genetic sequences. Heavily processed ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and ascorbic acid have no genetic material remaining, thereby sweeping their origins under the rug.
This is one reason who so many vitamins sold today are formulated with GMOs. This includes virtually ALL the popular multivitamin brands sold at grocery stores and pharmacies, by the way.

List of ingredients that are usually GMO

The Non-GMO Project Verified website lists these ingredients as commonly harboring GMOs:
Amino Acids
Aspartame
Ascorbic Acid
Sodium Ascorbate
Vitamin C
Citric Acid
Sodium Citrate
Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Lactic Acid
Maltodextrins
Molasses
Monosodium Glutamate
Sucrose
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Xanthan Gum
Vitamins
Yeast Products (such as yeast extract)

From this list, you can hopefully realize that:
• Nearly all “vegetarian” foods are GMO (loaded with yeast extract and soy).
• Nearly all sodas and soft drinks are GMO (HFCS, aspartame).
• Nearly all storable “emergency” food sold on the market today is GMO. (TVP, soy, MSG, yeast extract)
• Nearly all canned soups are GMO. (MSG, yeast extract)
• Nearly all children’s meals and snacks are GMO. (HFCS, MSG, soy, corn)
In other words, just about everything the consuming masses are eating is contaminated with GMOs.
Here’s a closer look at some of the more common GMO ingredients in vitamins and health products:

GMO ingredient #1 – Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a powdery, starch derivative of corn. It is used everywhere in the nutritional supplements industry, as a “filler” for fruit powders and drink mixes, as a “sweetener” for low-sugar health foods, and as a flow agent for vitamin capsules.
Unless it is certified as non-GMO, all maltodextrin should be assumed to come from GMO sources. The maltodextrin manufacturing supply chain isn’t even geared up to provide non-GMO maltodextrin, as the large-scale factories that produce the material run so much GM corn that there would be significant cross-contamination even if they tried to pull off a non-GMO run.

The few companies that offer non-GMO starches and sweeteners are increasingly gaining attention across the industry. I’m aware of one company called Austrade, Inc. that offers a full line of non-GMO corn-based starches and sweeteners, including non-GMO maltodextrin.
According to the company, they were the first producer to receive “Non-GMO Project Verified” approval for non-GMO maltodextrin.
Non-GMO maltodextrin is also making its way into health products such as “Ultima Replenisher,” a healthy replacement for those junk sports drinks made with GMO corn syrup, salt and low-grade minerals. Ultima Replenisher is completely GMO-free, relying on a non-GMO maltodextrin from certified sources.
A small company named Allergaroo.com also makes non-GMO microwaveable foods that are designed to be free of common allergens such as casein, soy, wheat, peanuts, dairy, GMOs, etc. (Although I have to wonder about the whole microwave concept…)

GMO ingredient #2 – Ascorbic acid

In the delusional world of western thinking on nutrients, ascorbic acid is called “vitamin C.”
It isn’t vitamin C, of course. Real vitamin C is a broad spectrum of synergistic compounds, never just an isolated, homogeneous molecule. But don’t tell that to doctors, scientists or journalists, because they’ve all bought into the “ascorbic acid is vitamin C” delusion.
So nearly all the common “vitamin C” pills are nothing more than heavily refined ascorbic acid derived from GM corn. That’s why those pills don’t work, by the way. So when the mainstream media declares, “Vitamin C shows no benefit…” in clinical trials, what they are really saying is that heavily processed ascorbic acid isolated from genetically modified corn doesn’t improve your health, and that’s no surprise.
Look on the labels of your cheap, low-grade vitamins and multivitamins… you’ll see “ascorbic acid” listed there, meaning you are eating GMOs. Throw those away. They’re crap.

If you want real vitamin C, your best bet is to eat camu camu, which is the planet’s highest source of natural, full-spectrum, food-based vitamin C. (The full synergy of nutrients, not just isolated chemicals.)
(By the way, as a side note, the FDA came to our warehouse and took a large number of samples of our camu camu to run lab tests in their Arkansas lab headquarters. They were obviously looking for heavy metals and pesticide residues. The lab tests, as we knew they would, came back 100% clear. That’s because we’re one of the few companies to actually test all the raw materials we import. So now we have official confirmation that even the FDA agrees that our products are clean. In truth, our own stringent lab test requirements are MORE STRICT than the FDA!)
There are also some vitamin companies making non-GMO vitamin C formulations. Expect them to be expensive because all non-GMO vitamin C must be sourced outside the United States. There is currently no U.S.-based producer of non-GMO vitamin C. (It simply doesn’t exist.)

GMO ingredient #3 – Sucrose (heavily used in children’s vitamins)

Take a look at almost any children’s vitamins and you’ll find they’re made with several GMO ingredients: aspartame, sucrose and often citric acid, too.
In fact, children’s vitamins are by far the most toxic because they’re usually formulated with a much higher concentration of toxic ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and GMO-derived materials.

Children should be eating superfoods or food concentrates, not toxic vitamin pills. Remember, too, that the low-grade vitamin pills are manufactured by companies largely owned by the pharmaceutical industry. They have every incentive to make sure their vitamins actually cause health problems rather than prevent disease. This boosts their long-term profits as sick children become Big Pharma customers for life.

MegaFood receives the first non-GMO certification in the industry

When it comes to high quality food-based nutrients in a pill format, nobody beats MegaFood, the supplier Natural News has chosen as its supplement partner.
MegaFood’s manufacturing facility is the first and only facility in the United States to be certified non-GMO. Certification of all the company’s products is under way, but I have personally been informed that the entire product line has been 100% non-GMO since 2007. (Actual certification takes time and will be announced when the process is complete.)
Consumers looking for truly non-GMO sources of health-supporting minerals can check out MegaFood’s Balanced Minerals formulation.
Those seeking thyroid support should take a look at MegaFood’s Thyroid Strength formulation.
And for non-GMO multivitamins made from real food rather than isolated chemicals, MegaFood offers a full line of daily multivitamins for men and women.

Join the call for GMO labeling on vitamins and supplements

As companies like MegaFood blaze forward in achieving non-GMO certification, they are going to force everyone else in the industry to follow suit (or lose customers). That’s because consumers don’t want hidden GMOs in their health supplements, obviously.
People take vitamins based on the belief that vitamins won’t poison them. Unfortunately, this is a false assumption given the dirty tricks played by the pharmaceutical industry in churning out harmful, synthetic vitamins loaded with toxic substances such as GMOs.
That’s why I support the mandatory GMO labeling of vitamins and dietary supplements. It’s also why my own brand of superfoods and dietary supplements —
Health Ranger Select — is 100% non-GMO.
See, it’s not just about labeling GMOs in foods. GMOs need to be labeled (or ultimately, banned) in everything we eat, and that includes vitamins and dietary supplements.
Most health-conscious consumers already know to avoid GMOs in foods, but they fail to avoid them when selecting vitamins and supplements. So they’re taking in quantities of GMO-derived materials in their health supplements, and that defeats the whole purpose of being “health conscious” in the first place.
Until GMOs are labeled (or banned) on vitamins and supplements, you have to be vigilant in avoiding GMO-derived ingredients such as maltodextrin, sucrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid and others.
Unless the product is certified non-GMO or comes from a company that is diligently working on the certification process, there is a better than 99% chance that they contain GMOs.
And what happens when you eat GMOs? Just ask these lab rats, which were fed a combination of GM corn and glyphosate, the weed killer chemical often used on genetically modified crops:

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com

Why GMOs are dangerous?

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are a broad group of plants, animals, and bacteria that are engineered for a wide variety of applications ranging from agricultural production to scientific research. The types of potential hazards posed by GMO’s vary according to the type of organism being modified and its intended application. Most of the concern surrounding GMO’s relates to their potential for negative effects on the environment and human health. Because GMO’s that could directly effect human health are primarily products that can enter the human food supply, this website focuses on genetically modified food. To date, the only types of products that have been approved for human consumption in the U.S. are genetically modified plants (FDA website).

All genetically modified foods that have been approved are considered by the government to be as safe as their traditional counterparts and are generally unregulated (FDA website). However, there are several types of potential health effects that could result from the insertion of a novel gene into an organism. Health effects of primary concern to safety assessors are production of new allergens, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance (Bernstein et al., 2003).
Food AllergyGMOsFood Allergy affects approximately 5% of children and 2% of adults in the U.S. and is a significant public health threat (Bakshi, 2003). Allergic reactions in humans occur when a normally harmless protein enters the body and stimulates an immune response (Bernstein et al., 2003). If the novel protein in a GM food comes from a source that is know to cause allergies in humans or a source that has never been consumed as human food, the concern that the protein could elicit an immune response in humans increases. Although no allergic reactions to GM food by consumers have been confirmed, in vitro evidence suggesting that some GM products could cause an allergic reaction has motivated biotechnology companies to discontinue their development (Bakshi, 2003).
Increased Toxicity
Most plants produce substances that are toxic to humans. Most of the plants that humans consume produce toxins at levels low enough that they do not produce any adverse health effects. There is concern that inserting an exotic gene into a plant could cause it to produce toxins at higher levels that could be dangerous to humans. This could happen through the process of inserting the gene into the plant. If other genes in the plant become damaged during the insertion process it could cause the plant to alter its production of toxins. Alternatively, the new gene could interfere with a metabolic pathway causing a stressed plant to produce more toxins in response. Although these effects have not been observed in GM plants, they have been observed through conventional breeding methods creating a safety concern for GM plants. For example, potatoes conventionally bred for increased diseased resistance have produced higher levels of glycoalkaloids (GEO-PIE website).
Decreased Nutritional Value
A genetically modified plant could theoretically have lower nutritional quality than its traditional counterpart by making nutrients unavailable or indigestible to humans. For example, phytate is a compound common in seeds and grains that binds with minerals and makes them unavailable to humans. An inserted gene could cause a plant to produce higher levels of phytate decreasing the mineral nutritional value of the plant (GEO-PIE). Another example comes from a study showing that a strain of genetically modified soybean produced lower levels of phytoestrogen compounds, believed to protect against heart disease and cancer, than traditional soybeans (Bakshi, 2003).
Antibiotic resistance
In recent years health professionals have become alarmed by the increasing number of bacterial strains that are showing resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by creating antibiotic resistance genes through natural mutation. Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers when inserting new genes into plants. In the early stages of the process scientists do not know if the target plant will incorporate the new gene into its genome. By attaching the desired gene to an antibiotic resistance gene the new GM plant can be tested by growing it in a solution containing the corresponding antibiotic. If the plant survives scientists know that it has taken up the antibiotic resistance gene along with the desired gene. There is concern that bacteria living in the guts of humans and animals could pick up an antibiotic resistance gene from a GM plant before the DNA becomes completely digested (GEO-PIE website).

It is not clear what sort of risk the possibility of conferring antibiotic resistance to bacteria presents. No one has ever observed bacteria incorporating new DNA from the digestive system under controlled laboratory conditions. The two types of antibiotic resistance genes used by biotechnologists are ones that already exist in bacteria in nature so the process would not introduce new antibiotic resistance to bacteria. Never the less it is a concern and the FDA is encouraging biotechnologists to phase out the practice of using antibiotic resistance genes (GEO-PIE website).

Source:http://enhs.umn.edu