See also: Genetic modification - This article provides answers to questions frequently asked by consumers
By law, all foods on sale must be safe to eat and from the initiation of genetic modification technology, the safety
of these foods has been an important concern.
Countries have implemented stringent biosafety structures of oversee the development of GM foods, and each food is
thoroughly assessed for human and environmental safety before it is approved for consumer use.
Will this new gene technology increase the allergenicity of commonly eaten foods?
The safety of all GM foods and their products to all consumers is the major priority in every biosafety assessment.
If a product displays an increase in allergenicity, it will simply not obtain biosafety approval.
Could there be any long term instability in these foreign genes?
There is a concern that genetic modifications, originally deemed safe, could, with time, become unstable in the
host,resulting in increased toxicity, allergenicity of danger to the environment.
However, the stable, long term safety of GM foods is a major issue in all safety assessments and any sign of
instability means the food is ruled unsafe for general release. Stability in crops is assessed over six or more
Will there be increased antibiotic resistance as a result of gene technology?
Genetic modification sometimes uses antibiotic resistance markers to trace the gene movement and stability.
There is concern that these genes could move out of the GM food into other organisms in the environment, and
cause antibiotic resistance in ecosystems.
Antibiotic marker genes are highly unlikely to move into other organisms in the food web, and these marker genes,
obtained from sources such as soil and fungi, already occur in high numbers in all ecosystems. All marker genes
are, however, carefully reviewed and only those that offer resistance to antibiotics no longer in clinical use are
What about Dr. Pusztai's 'toxic potatoes'?
Preliminary research into the toxicity of plant toxin genes introduced into potatoes caused major stir in the UK in
1998. In the May 1999 review of the results by UK's advisory committee on noval foods concluded "the result
from Dr. Pusztai's work have been severely distorted by the recent media campaign in an unwarranted attempt
to cast doubt on the safety of GM foods in general'.
Publication of Pusztai's research late in 1999 allowed scientists worldwide to confirm that the research is incomplete
and does not show that GM foods are unsafe.
Could genetically modified DNA be transferred to human?
The human body contains billions of micro-organisms on, or inside it, and we ingest, inhale and absorb alien
organisms and their DNA every day. Because our bodies have their own defense mechanisms, the changes of
DNA transfer is remote.
There is no scientific evidence that the body will react differently to GM-derived foodstuffs.
What about the much published 'Brazil nut protein scare'?
A Brazil nut protein was cloned into plants to improve the protein content of staple foods like soya. The particular
protein identified was then recognised as the nut's major allergen, and research was discontinued as a result.
No GM soya containing a Brazil nut gene has ever been approved for commercialisation and no one has ever
died from eating GM soya that contains a Brazil nut protein.
Will an animal that eats GM feed become a GMO?
A genetically modified animal must have a new gene permanently inserted into its body. The GM plant is
digested in the animal gut, and the foreign gene and its protein are digested like any other food protein.
The animal is not genetically modified as a result.
Walking for Fun & Exercise
By Thomas Slaughter
Walking is fun, easy, and beneficial to your health! After years of swimming miles and miles in pools all over the
country, it was a joy to find an easier way to get a little daily exercise. If you choose walking as your daily exercise,
you can wear clothes you already own, begin the exercise right at your doorstep, and you get to enjoy the beauty of
the great outdoors. There are no membership fees, you can bring a friend, listen to your favorite music, and even talk
on your cell phone!
Shopping malls love walkers; most malls will even open their doors early for walkers. They know the walkers are likely
to do a little business once the shops open, and besides – it is good advertising. Many cities have "greenways" –
paved pathways that journey throughout the city – usually along swaths of land that are unusable for other purposes.
Parks frequently have special walkways that allow you to experience nature and get some exercise too.
Many experts have described walking as one of the best ways to exercise – it is low stress on your body, and
provides a great cardiopulmonary workout. There are psychological benefits too – not only do you have a sense
that you are doing something good for your health, but when you go for those extended walks – you can boost your
endorphins and enjoy a sense of well being.
The only real "equipment" you will need for walking is a good pair of walking shoes. To maintain proper care of your
feet – you should buy a shoe that is lightweight, breathable, flexible, and like any other shoe – one that fits well and
doesn't cause blisters. You probably already have a pair that will work perfectly well, but if you plan on a regular
walking regimen, you should go ahead and invest in a good pair of shoes designed specially for your style of walking.
Many people enjoy watching the "speed walkers". The ones who do it professionally are a true work of art in motion.
Walkers who are just walking fast, can provide great comic relief to an otherwise ordinary day, with all that local
motion. From our vantage point on top of a hill overlooking the street, we enjoy watching the "resolution walkers" who
begin their exercise program on New Year's Day. A day, a week, or a month later – they are usually nowhere to be found.
Walking is good for you and your body, inside and out. You can do it anywhere, and it is a low cost form of exercise.
So, put on a good pair of walking shoes and go take a hike!
Copyright © 2006 Thomas E. Slaughter. All rights reserved.
Tom and his wife Nancy, are the Proprietors of Carolina Coffee and Tea Company – the home of Great Coffee, Memorable
Whole Leaf Tea, and good values. They have found the simple things in life usually bring the most joy,
and desire to share the Good News throughout the world. For a taste of good old southern hospitality,