Food genes inside you

October 2013

Photo by By Engl101caison (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
via Wikimedia Commons
Unless it's been processed out of existence, DNA is present in all food and feed. Because the amount of DNA is low compared with other constituents and doesn't have a significant nutritional value, few studies have been carried out on how the body handles it.

This has allowed regulators to issue blandly reassuring advice about the safety of GM DNA based on generalisations and dogma, and very little in the way of science.

For example, DNA in food has long been claimed to be rapidly degraded in the digestive tract. This assertion is backed up by: “a large number of experimental studies on livestock” have failed to detect GM DNA in animal tissues and fluids. And just in case anyone points out the foregoing aren't quite true, be reassured that, even if an occasional DNA fragment does end up in animal produce, this is no different from the occasional non-GM fragment which also ends up there.

The messages of mere “fragments” of GM DNA which occur only “occasionally” and are “no different” from any other DNA is clear: there is nothing to worry about.

Recent research, however, is repainting the picture.

Meal-derived DNA “fragments” large enough to include complete genes have been found circulating in human blood. Data from over 1000 human subjects confirmed the authors' hypothesis that the presence of foreign DNA in blood is not unusual. In one instance the concentration of identifiable plant DNA was found to be greater than the human DNA present.

The highest levels of such food-derived DNA were found in patients with inflammatory disease such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS).

OUR COMMENT

In the blood, DNA fragments are carried to all parts of the body from where they can enter our tissues. The occasional artificial gene entering one of our healthy cells may or may not be a problem. But the artificial super-strength viral gene-promoter attached to it could well cause all sorts of havoc from auto-immune diseases to cancers to birth defects.

At the very least, the vulnerable sectors of the population, especially the very young and those with inflammatory conditions, must be enabled to omit GM food and products from GM-fed animals.

Ask our regulators to came clean on how much GM DNA will end up inside YOU.

SOURCES:
  • S├índor Spiz├ík, et al., 2013, Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood, PLoS ONE 8(7)
  • Complete genes can pass from food to human blood - study, GM Watch 2013

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