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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Push-back Against Report Linking GMOs to Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 01/08/2014 - Push-back mounts against a controversial new report alleging that genetically engineered foods may trigger gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--MDGLillehammerIn the first salvo, Celiac Disease Foundation CEO Marilyn Geller derided the report, published last week by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), as merely "speculative."

    Then followed comments by leading plant geneticist, Dr. Wayne Parrott, professor of crop science at the University of Georgia, that the report relied on "a handful of deeply flawed"studies and ignored "more than 1,000 studies that have been published in refereed journals and which show that GM crops are as safe as their counterparts."

    According to Geller, no one has offered scientific evidence "for a GMO/celiac disease link that is supported by the CDF Medical Advisory Board.

    For their part, the authors of the IRT report admit that there is no data to prove that GMO consumption causes gluten sensitivity.

    However, they try to hedge slightly by claiming that more and more research shows that GMO consumption may worsen celiac symptoms or lead to gluten sensitivity. Here again, they offer no good data to support their claims.

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    I was diagnosed with celiac and went totally gluten free in 2004. I suffered with serious symptoms for years, before that. I always have, and still do, get severe stomach pains and other symptoms, if I eat anything that is likely to be GMO. Since GM foods are not truthfully labeled, there is no proof that they are genetically modified. I have to totally avoid foods likely to be GMO, so I do think that there could be leaky gut or other gut damage caused by them, in some of us. They have never been proven to be safe, there is no test for any harm to human health, no tracking of any harm they may cause, and no labels to show we ever even ate them. 64 other countries in the world require labels on GMO and products that contain them, but not in the USA. Why not label GM foods, if they are as safe as claimed. What do they know, that they don't want us to know?

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    I was diagnosed with celiac and went totally gluten free in 2004. I suffered with serious symptoms for years, before that. I always have, and still do, get severe stomach pains and other symptoms, if I eat anything that is likely to be GMO. Since GM foods are not truthfully labeled, there is no proof that they are genetically modified. I have to totally avoid foods likely to be GMO, so I do think that there could be leaky gut or other gut damage caused by them, in some of us. They have never been proven to be safe, there is no test for any harm to human health, no tracking of any harm they may cause, and no labels to show we ever even ate them. 64 other countries in the world require labels on GMO and products that contain them, but not in the USA. Why not label GM foods, if they are as safe as claimed. What do they know, that they don't want us to know?

    Re Donnie's comment that "What do they know, that they don't want us to know." It is not hiding. I am an agricultural producer with celiac. I have no employees except for occasional help from son and spouse. I am already inundated with paperwork. Having to spend many hours a week find out GMO status of every seed in my pasture might be a full time job in itself. It would put many small producers out of business. For large businesses that have a hundred employees, having one employee only handling GMO/organic paperwork is a much smaller total cost than for a small producer. And don't forget we have to compete pricewise with foods produced in countries with little or no regulation. When California ag is driven out, do you want to import your food from China?

     

    I just don't think the general public realizes the amount of time consuming paperwork now required. Things like trying to put a creek crossing in so livestock are not walking through the creek. Everyone may agree that this is a good practice, but getting permits, (engineering the permits require is usually much more costly than the actual permits) takes years. It often costs more than the actual work and prevents the project from happening. Environmentalists who want more regulation are doing a disservice to the environment.

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    The possible problems for humans eating GMO food cannot be established at this time, because the use in humans has not been tracked due to the fact that the GMOs aren't labeled. My opinion would be that arguments from both sides of this controversy are merely speculative. I am much like another person who commented, and sometimes have issues when eating GMO foods. Possible cross contamination could be the issue, but it also could be that a foreign protein in the GMO food closely resembles that of gliadin or, for me, avenin, since I am one of those unlucky celiacs who cannot tolerate oats. I also have some issue with Quinoa, so who knows what it is that is causing the problems for me. I just wish that, because there are foreign proteins in GMOs, other than those which would normally be found in the food substance we think we are buying, that it would be very helpful for people such as myself to know exactly what it is that I am eating before I eat it. No studies have been done on humans with regard specifically to GMOs and Celiac Disease, so I don't see how either side can claim any sort of proof as to whether or not GMOs are safe for people with food intolerances.

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    Re Donnie's comment that "What do they know, that they don't want us to know." It is not hiding. I am an agricultural producer with celiac. I have no employees except for occasional help from son and spouse. I am already inundated with paperwork. Having to spend many hours a week find out GMO status of every seed in my pasture might be a full time job in itself. It would put many small producers out of business. For large businesses that have a hundred employees, having one employee only handling GMO/organic paperwork is a much smaller total cost than for a small producer. And don't forget we have to compete pricewise with foods produced in countries with little or no regulation. When California ag is driven out, do you want to import your food from China?

     

    I just don't think the general public realizes the amount of time consuming paperwork now required. Things like trying to put a creek crossing in so livestock are not walking through the creek. Everyone may agree that this is a good practice, but getting permits, (engineering the permits require is usually much more costly than the actual permits) takes years. It often costs more than the actual work and prevents the project from happening. Environmentalists who want more regulation are doing a disservice to the environment.

    I also agree with Donnie.

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    Re Donnie's comment that "What do they know, that they don't want us to know." It is not hiding. I am an agricultural producer with celiac. I have no employees except for occasional help from son and spouse. I am already inundated with paperwork. Having to spend many hours a week find out GMO status of every seed in my pasture might be a full time job in itself. It would put many small producers out of business. For large businesses that have a hundred employees, having one employee only handling GMO/organic paperwork is a much smaller total cost than for a small producer. And don't forget we have to compete pricewise with foods produced in countries with little or no regulation. When California ag is driven out, do you want to import your food from China?

     

    I just don't think the general public realizes the amount of time consuming paperwork now required. Things like trying to put a creek crossing in so livestock are not walking through the creek. Everyone may agree that this is a good practice, but getting permits, (engineering the permits require is usually much more costly than the actual permits) takes years. It often costs more than the actual work and prevents the project from happening. Environmentalists who want more regulation are doing a disservice to the environment.

    Sharon, they are required in Europe to label for GMO, maybe study how they do it there. Has food production in Europe suffered import competition from China or have you bought into the fear mongering from the big agricultural-pac's? Also, wouldn't our laws requiring labeling affect imports as well?

    Tracking might be easier if the labeling requirements started with seeds, then you would know which seeds you plant are GMO or not; all you would need then, is a spreadsheet. Also, I do not believe that the sustainability of your or any other business is more important than our right to know what we are putting in our bodies.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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