There has been a lot of activity and interest about GMO food in the last few weeks. The recent débâcle with Monsanto getting the free pass by congress certainly was an impetus.
What are GMO foods? If you are like me, this is a confusing area. The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Food, which still does not tell us much. If you will bear with me I will try to give a simplified explanation. The word “genetically” refers to genes or, more commonly, DNA. This DNA structure holds the information for forming and running the body. Think of it as a recipe book. You want to make a cake? You look at the recipe and put the ingredients together. You want to make a liver? Same idea.
But don’t fall into the mistaken idea that the physical organism is completely run by the DNA carried in the cells. It is much more complicated than that but, again, to make it more simple, it is like not all the recipes are read. There are other factors, other influences, that decide which recipes will be used. In homeopathy we refer to that deciding influence as the “vital force” or the “life force” referring to an energetic pattern that is responsible for the manifestation and maintenance of the organism. In non-homeopathic mainstream science the idea of a ruling life force is discarded as superstition or ignorance and there is little concern about interfering with the harmony of the organism by changing its DNA structure and its relationship with any governing energetic influence.
This idea in mainstream science, of forcibly changing the DNA structure, is a reflection of the attitude that the way that the organism functions is under our control, that we can modify the genetic makeup and make it do what we want. This has led to the production of genetically modified plants and animals (and likely very soon, human beings). To give you an idea of what kind of changes are possible here is a listing of some of what has been done already:
- Cats have been produced that glow in the dark when a UV light is shown upon them.
- Goats have been modified so that their milk contains spider silk from which bullet proof vests are made.
- Plants have been changed so that they produce, internally, an insecticide that kills the insects that eat the plant.
Much of the work done so far is the changing of the genetic structure of plants so they grow differently, have resistance to herbicides, produce insecticides, and on and on. These changes, ones resulting in food plants that have never existed on the earth for the last 6 billion years, have been introduced into agriculture and into our food supply without the FDA requiring any testing for health effects in humans or animals. So it is important we understand more about this because well over 90% of what you buy in the grocery store contains these modified foods.
What about pet foods? I cannot be absolutely certain, as the information is simply not available, but I think that 100% of pet foods will contain genetically modified foods, even foods produced by companies that are dedicated to making healthy products. What is alarming about this is that research studies now being reported are showing very significant health effects in animals fed these foods. We need to know about this and we need to know what we can do to minimize these effects.
More next time…
Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD