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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

FASCINATING LETTER FROM ALLERGY KIDS RE: FOOD ALLERGIES AND GMO FOODS


Dear AllergyKids’ Friends,



DNA from Fish Protein Found in Ice Cream

According to ABC news and University of Cincinnati researchers, one of the nation’s leading ice cream brands and some of their popsicles contain the DNA (genetic material) from fish protein. Scientists added a cloned protein from a fish in order to make the ice cream smoother.



Fish is one of the top eight food allergens. So please take a moment to read and to forward this important email.



What other foods containing DNA and genetic material should I be aware of?
Foods that contain the DNA and genetic material of other animals and plants are called "genetically modified" foods.

The first genetically modified food was a tomato – introduced in 1994. The tomato had the DNA (genetic material) of a fish injected into it to make the tomato last longer on grocery store shelves.



A poll conducted in December 2006 revealed that most Americans don’t realize that they’re eating genetically modified food, and that 60 per cent have no idea that it’s in their diet. Genetically modified foods can include soy, corn, dairy, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, and fish.



What does “genetically modified” mean?

Scientists take the DNA (genetic material) of one organism (like the fish) and inject it into the DNA of another organism (like the tomato). By injecting one organism with another, the structure of the food protein is changed. Children with food allergies are allergic to foods’ proteins (egg protein, milk protein, peanut protein, etc.).



When were genetically modified foods introduced?

Widespread introduction of genetically modified foods (“GMOs”) began ten years ago. Beginning in the 1990s, corn was genetically modified so that it could produce its own insecticidal toxin that the corn plant releases as it grows. Today, 70% of "corn" as we know it is genetically modified.



In 1998, the genetically modified soybean was introduced and a 50% increase in the number of people with soy allergy was seen in that year alone. Today, 90% of "soy" as we know it is genetically modified. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, when the soybean was genetically modified with a nut, it induced an allergic reaction in 7 out of 9 cases.



Does the sudden increase in the number of children with food allergies correspond with the introduction of genetically modified foods?

AllergyKids finds it interesting that genetically modified foods were only introduced ten years ago and that research shows that within the first five years of the introduction of the genetically modified soybean, the number of children with the peanut allergy doubled.



Parts of the genetically modified soybean are identical to known allergens.



Corn is the fastest growing genetically modified crop and one of the fastest growing food allergies in children.



What else should I know about genetically modified foods?

Genetically modified foods ("GMOs") have altered food proteins. Children with food allergies are allergic to food proteins. GMOs can be found in 70% of all processed foods as well as in infant formula, baby food, frozen pizzas and fruit juices.




Currently, the list of genetically modified foods intersects with the list of the top 8 allergens (including wheat, soy, dairy, egg, fish, nuts) as well as lesser known allergens (corn, tomatoes, pork and chicken).



Labeling of genetically modified foods is required in Europe, Asia, Australia and most developed countries because of the unknown health risks of genetically modified foods (“GMOs”). Just this week, Europeans requested additional labeling for milk, meat and egg products derived from animals fed genetically engineered crops.



No human trials have been conducted to test the safety of GMOs.

Please forward this email to others and encourage them to sign up for our free newsletter. As we learn more about GMOs, you can help protect the health of your family and friends, as we learn more about genetically modified foods and the unknown role that they play in the health of our children.

AllergyKids needs your support to continue this important research.
Every time that you purchase AllergyKids’ stickers for your child’s preschool or an AllergyKids’ med case to carry your child’s epinephrine; you are supporting our independent research on behalf of all of these children.

We understand that you will have questions since 60% of Americans have never heard of a “GMO", so please do not hesitate to contact us.



More information is also available on our Resources page at www.allergykids.com or by conducting a keyword search: “GMOs and food allergies”.



With hope for the cure,

Robyn O’Brien
Founder, AllergyKids

Mother of Four
1.800.671.1525

3 Comments:

  • At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Cassie Rivera said…

    Hi Cybele how are you?
    I found out I am allergy to Histimine and Red Maple. Is that normal? My allergist really didn't tell me anything. Any tips. I haven't been tested for foods yet.

     
  • At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Joanna said…

    Thank you so much for the information on icecream! I didn't know about the fish content. As I am a vegetarian at the moment (I don't know if I always will be), I found that really helpful.
    As are many of your readers, I am a huge fan of your husband's music, but I have started reading more of your blogs.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks and send you some well wishes from Australia,
    ~Joanna

     
  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Jessica said…

    Hi Cybele,
    This is very interesting letter. I posted a comment from one of your posts in mid-December about this same point, but I'm not sure if you saw it or not (I posted it pretty late in January).

    The point of my message was that everyone in this forum seems to be asking 'why am I getting these allergies?'. Since I have been allergic to soy for almost three years and have developed an allergy to wheat (this was discovered about three months ago), my thoughts have led me to believe that the food we are eating is non only produced and replicated in mass quantity, but also that it is genetically modified or cross-bred somehow.

    What I am saying is that the answer probably begins with the farm or agricultural production. While back home over the holidays, I ran into a family friend while I was out and about doing some skiing. This friend is a large-scale farmowner and we discussed crops, grains, and the animals and how they are genetically modified or injected with all sorts of synthetic chemicals. He actually is going to let me come onto his farm and show me a few things about the corn, soy, and wheat that he grows. He also has cows and sheep and pigs.

    I do agree with the statement about Europe. I have been there several times and there certianly is much more public consciousness and dialogue about GMO and labelling. I think that the U.S. needs to bring GMO to the forefront with agricultural producers and food manufacturers.

    Anyhoo, thank you for posting the information. It couples what I have already suspected about our food supply.

    By the way, I am eating strictly non-GMO and/or organic grains and produce. I definetly don't want to get an allergy to something else...soy and wheat are enough.

    Thanks again for being so diligent with facilitating this blog with information and discussion!

    Jessica

     

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