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Ten Ways the E.U. (More Than the U.S.) Protects Its Citizens Against Toxic Foods

Friday Nov 29, 2013 | BY |
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GMO Foods

A number of other countries have placed restrictions on GMO foods.

Which countries ban GMOs? Not the majority of nations, but many won’t allow GMO seeds, plants, or products to be grown or sold within their borders. The European Union (EU) is particularly strict. At least twenty-six, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia ban GMO foods. Another sixty countries place significant restrictions on GMOs. Even little Cuba, struggling to feed her people because of oppressive economic sanctions by the all-powerful U.S., has restriction on GMOs and also limits the percentage of gluten allowed in imported wheat.

(Unfortunately, the anti-GMO policy of the Cuban government is clandestinely shifting. During the last few years, GMO crops are reported to have been grown on government-run research stations.)

What are GMOs? GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms.” These include plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or from other plants and animals. The experimental combination of genes from different species does not occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. All commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand herbicides and/or to produce their own insecticidal chemicals. These engineered traits do not increase yield, drought tolerance, or enhance nutrition.

GMO crops have a long history. In the United States, they began to be planted extensively around 1996. Currently, GMO crops cover 125 million hectares worldwide. The world leaders in GMO agriculture are the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, and Mexico.

Scientific studies in Europe linking genetically modified crops with adverse effects on the environment, as well as human and animal health, have come under fire. Critics assert that such claims are based on “contested science,” according to a recent report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The report from EASAC, published in June 2013, recommends that European countries “rethink” their rejection of the technology.

Environmentalists are unhappy about the report. Monsanto and Dow Chemical companies keep pushing their effort to crack the E.U.’s stand on GMOs. The fight is getting bitter.

Earth Open Source asserts there is little credible evidence to support the safety of GM foods, such as long-term animal feeding studies comparing one group of animals fed a diet containing one or more GM ingredients with a control group fed a diet containing the same ingredients in non-GM form.

The E.U. also bans antibiotics, hormones, and hormone disrupting herbicides. The U.S. allows them all to be widely used.

Europeans tend to complain of significantly less food-related illnesses than those in the United States. It’s estimated that at least 15% of American children have a distinct allergy to foods, and upwards to 30% have food sensitivities. In Canada, only 7.5% of people have food allergies. In comparison, about 5% of children in Ireland have food allergies.

Why so much trouble in the U.S., even in those who eat a healthy organic diet? It’s possible that many of our food intolerances are linked to GMO foods, additives and other chemicals, drugs and other farming practices that are banned in the E.U.

Ten Ways The EU Protects People From GMO Foods and Dangerous Chemicals

  1. Checks for more than 50 drug residues in shrimp. The U.S. checks for 16.
  2. Allows only 2 GMO crops used in breakfast cereals. The U.S. allows them all.
  3. Requires GMO food package labeling. The U.S. doesn’t require labeling.
  4. Will ban Bisphenol-A in canned goods in 2014. Still widely used in the U.S.
  5. Bans use and imports of antiseptic washes on meat and poultry. Widely used in the U.S.
  6. Bans use of hormone in beef. Widely used in the U.S.
  7. Bans rBGH (bovine growth hormone). Permitted in the U.S.
  8. Bans antibiotic sprays on fruit trees. Allowed in U.S, even for organically grown trees.
  9. Bans atrazine (hormone-disrupting herbicide). Widely used in the U.S.
  10. Banned neonicotinoid pesticides linked to honey bee colony collapse in 2013. Still used in the U.S.

GMO Labeling Rules: Food and feed must carry a label, which refers to the presence of GMOs. However, these labeling requirements do not apply to food/feed which contains, consists of, or is produced from GMOs in a proportion no higher than 0.9 % of the food/feed ingredients considered individually, and if this presence is adventitious or technically unavoidable.

Keep watch on what’s happening in Europe. The big agribusiness companies are pushing France to allow three GMO corn varieties to be planted for animal fed. This is just the start. Once they have a foot in the door, Monsanto and Dow will push harder to get more easing of GMO restrictions.

I don’t believe this is a good thing. If the world is going to use more GMO crops, we’ll need some places, like the E.U., to avoid them entirely. This is the only way we’ll find out who’s right. My guess is that that anti-GMO European environmentalists are getting it right.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. J. E. Williams is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, longevity, and natural health. Dr. Williams is the author of six books and more than two hundred articles. During his thirty years of practice, Dr. Williams has conducted over 100,000 patient visits. Formerly from San Diego, he now practices in Sarasota, Florida and teaches at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Division of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, NOVA Southeastern University, and Emperor’s College in Los Angeles.

He is also an ethnographer and naturalist. Since 1967, he has lived and worked with indigenous tribes, and spends as much time in the high Andean wilderness and deep Amazonian rainforest as possible. In 2010, he founded AyniGLOBAL, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting indigenous cultures, environments, and intellec¬tual rights. His current work is with the Q’ero people of the Peruvian Andes, where he teaches Earth-based wisdom and heart-centered spirituality.

For more information: www.drjewilliams.com

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/drjewilliams

11 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Anne says:

    Wow. I live in Europe (the Netherlands), but I’ve never really looked at at this way. I try to eat 100% organic, but it causes quite some (social) stress at times. I’m happy to know that it is not quite as bad as it could be. :D
    Thank you so much for this article; it’s really hard to find any American specialists willing to discuss countries outside of the US. But it’s very interesting to me. :)
    Kind regards,
    Anne

  2. Marie Valgarðsson says:

    This article is not well written and is confusing!

    “The European Union (EU) is particularly strict. At least twenty-six, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia ban GMO foods.”

    These two sentences do not fit together for obvious reasons.

    Further down we read: “The world leaders in GMO agriculture are the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, and Mexico.” A total contradiction if there ever was one!

    In all fairness, I am sure the author did a fine job with the original article, but the editor was perhaps just a little over zealous and did not proofread his edits.

  3. DOROTHY DUMBRA says:

    Yes, all corn, wheat, soy, peanuts, eggs dairy are hi allergy foods, wheat is especially bad dueto theh gluten, but the first three are all GMO, causing birth defects, sterility, GI upset, etc. Shop at facilities with non gmo, organic veg. fruits, protein sources, limit red meat, use coconut oil for cooking, has many benefits, xyloitol is a good sweetener, from a plant and does not go through the pancreas, so good for glycemic disregulation, helps the immune system, helps prevent dental carries. Tumeric or cir cumin the golden Indian herb is a powerful antioxidant, more so that C, sprinkle it on foods, in drinks. Keep fruits and carbs down especially if you wish to lose weight, use low glycemic foods, berries, sweet rather than white potatoes, Potatoes and rice are very hi glycemic. All disease can be prevented and most of them cured. good probiotic builds gut immunity, as 70 per cent of immune system is in the gut. Notice that there is an epidemic of thyroid cancer, i believe that it is due to deficiencies in iodine, so the thyroid picks up radio active iodine and thus the cancer. Doctors think that we have enough iodine in the food and iodized salt. Not so, You may be in an iodine deficient state, and what is in salt is chemical and too little..Kelp is a good source of iodine. Low thyroid and low iodine exists in 60 percent of the population, at least here in the U.S. I am a clinical nutritionist and specialized Kinesiologist in pvt. practice.

  4. Claudia says:

    They seem so reasonable. This is what greedy businesses do to keep their profits so high. It is also short-sighted. I wish we could follow EU’s lead. Thanks for the information, Kev.

  5. Kathy says:

    Is there anything we can do to change the US policy on these issues? We have so much corporate/governmental corruption in so many areas: weather, food, personal care, etc. I would like to know what action there is that average people can do to make an impact.

    • Joe says:

      Corporations run most of the government agency’s, EPA, FDA. USDA , on and on. They even have ties to the supreme court, so to answer your question no there is nothing that can be done but maybe move to Europe.

  6. Lor says:

    I’m confused. This article seems to contradict itself. The first paragraph says …at least 26 countries, including … China… ban GMO foods. Then it says in paragraph 3 that China is one of the world leaders in GMO agriculture. Does China grow GMO crops but ban its citizens from eating the GMO’s they grow? Doesn’t make sense. Which statement is accurate?

    Also, I find it pretty ironic that China bans GMO foods when everything about their environment is so polluted and toxic. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  7. Joe says:

    This could all change pretty soon!

    The TTIP trade agreement between Europe and the US is seeking to “harmonize” the laws. That means that if a government here in Europe refuses to accept GMOs, or food grown with atrazine, or chemical meat washes etc etc – they could be sued by American corporations. That means before long all laws across the two superstates will be the same – and of course that’s just what big business wants so they can force-sell us garbage products here in Europe.

    The politicians are in talks at the moment behind closed doors – the only other people allowed access to read and comment were 600 corporations – who, I’m guessing, have made some changes to suit their bottom line.

    The biggest trade barrier is not the laws, but US rogue corporations! I’d be happy to buy American products if there wasn’t the danger of serious injury!!!

    Stop the TTIP!

  8. Ken says:

    But at the same time the EU has all but eliminated access to vitamins and minerals

  9. Joanna says:

    I’m polish living in warsaw, but spent many years in us… Good to know.. That’s why the European prices polish particularly r so high in terms of organic food…
    Thank you for focusing not only on us:)
    V/r

  10. Thanks for sharing a nice article, really this very good and very helpful.

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