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Talking Points: Biotechnology And Celiac Disease

by Marshall Chrostowski of Gluten Biotech Watch

Question: What is biotechnology?

Short Answer: Biotechnology is a set of scientific tools and principles designed to alter living material at the molecular-genetic level by recombining DNA fragments of genes to create organisms with altered, predictable properties. Organisms that receive genetic material from an unrelated organism are said to be transgenic and are referred to as genetically modified organisms (gmos).

Question: Is food grown from gmos safe to eat? Short Answer: The answer has several parts.

  • Scientists cannot yet assure us that gm food is totally safe to eat because such foodstuffs have not been tested using scientifically acceptable procedures over sufficient time.
  • Caution is recommended because of theoretical issues related to creation of novel large proteins and associated biochemicals that are often associated with food allergenicities.
  • Potential problems may arise from the introduction of exotic genes from viruses and bacteria not commonly part of the human diet, especially those genes producing toxins against crop pests and diseases.
  • The potential adverse effects of synergy between gmos and traditional foods and medicines must be carefully considered by anyone with allergies and autoimmune issues.
  • The Precautionary Principle should apply in relation to these gmos because it should be the responsibility of the biotechnological industry to demonstrate safety to humans and the environment prior to public acceptance and distribution.

Question: Should a sufferer of food intolerances be concerned with the genetic modification of other foodstuffs?

Short Answer: Scientific studies are confirming unforeseen increases in the allergenicity of some gm foods and some instances of reduced food values in altered crops. Most media reports, however, are anecdotal and should not be accepted as proof. Just remember that children are most susceptible to increased allergens. So, be forewarned.

Question: Should folks with food intolerances and compromised immune systems be concerned about other trends in food production?

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Short Answer: Current research is directed at introducing genetic materials into conventional crops to produce pharmaceuticals and industrial components. Of more immediate concern are the numerous environmental estrogens (called endocrine disrupters) let loose on the population in the form of pesticides and other industrial products. Gmo research and development employs additional estrogens as regulators of transgenic changes. So there is the potential danger of estrogen overload on children in pre puberty.

Action #l: Demand responsible labeling of food and medicines as GLUTEN FREE, not only processed food but also materials added post-harvest to "fresh" food.

Action #2: Demand that genetically modified organisms and products be withdrawn from circulation and a rigorous, scientific evaluation of these materials be completed before any possible reintroduction.

Action #3: In the interim demand immediate labeling as GMO FREE of all gmo products to allow the consumer to make informed choices.

Action #4: Demand from your local markets the opportunity to buy certified organic food, and that markets list what fruit and vegetables have been treated with waxes, fungicides and other post-harvest protective materials.

Action #5: Demand from the medical establishment greater awareness of and responsiveness to celiac and related diseases and syndromes and more aggressive research and development projects aimed at alleviating acute and chronic suffering by our impacted population.

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