Nation’s Largest Health Care Provider Warns Members to Avoid GMOs

Californians still lamenting the failure of Proposition 37 got a little morale boost this week when (an Oregon-based website) reported that Kaiser Permanente—the nation’s largest healthcare organization with more than 9 million members—advised its members about the dangers of consuming foods containing genetically modified organisms.

According to the article featured in the Kaiser Permanente regional Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, “GMOs have been added to our food supply since 1994, but most people don’t know it because the United States does not require labeling of GMOs.

The article also warned of the potential dangers connected with GMOs even though the biotech industry and regulatory government agencies say there is no difference between GMO crops and conventionally raised foods: “Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health.” It’s a divisive point in the GMO debate—companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta—continue to insist genetically modified seeds and excessive pesticides used on them are safe for humans and the environment and that “enough” research has been done to prove this fact. But, many health experts, environmentalists and informed consumers feel otherwise. The Kaiser article highlighted studies that have found connections between GMOs and health issues including organ damage and reproductive issues.

The article also highlighted tips for its members in avoiding GMOs including shopping for organic foods and familiarizing themselves with the most common GMO crops (corn, soy, canola, cotton and sugar beets). The article also mentioned the Non-GMO Project’s Non-GMO Verified labels and smart phone app as tools to use when shopping.

[Editor’s Note December 4, 2012: Controversy over whether or not the Kaiser article was a hoax surfaced shortly after this story was published. According to “Kaiser’s official position… is that it has no official position. According to a statement released by the company, the article in question–published in a Fall 2012 newsletter mailed to Kaiser Permanente members in Washington and Oregon–reflected the personal views of the staff nutritionist who wrote it.”]

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Image: Jessica Mullen