As busy, complex and hectic the occupancy of our daily schedules can be, we can neglect our health and continual wealth for our bodies. Are we conscious about what we feed ourselves and our children? Time is always of the essence but preparation and knowledge are variables in the formula for great health. Daily values, serving sizes, calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates and ingredients are all components one can find on the nutrition labels of a food product. Pay close attention some products you imagined to be healthy, as they are marketed as such, read ‘partially produced with genetic engineering’ or the company won’t label the product at all if it contains genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). You don’t know what that means and life is moving fast, and remember time is of the essence so you make decisions about food without comprehensive thought. These hasty actions can contribute to unhealthy food selections.

Genetically modified organisms are organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering. Typically, taking another organisms DNA and transferring it into another organism of a different breed or species for specific results. November of 2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc. use of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon for the food markets (the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption in the U.S. by the FDA). Salmon is native to North Atlantic, however, this process will grow the fish in tanks in Canada and the eggs will be shipped to Panama to grow out to size for market. AquaAdvantage Salmon will rapidly grow faster than non-GMO salmon using growth hormones from the Pacific Chinook Salmon and genes from the Ocean Pout fish.

This matters because, there are potential health risks for altering food when adding an rDNA complex (genetic modifications). Are the salmon we consume safe to eat anymore? Potential health risks may include toxic affects to the liver, pancreas, kidneys and reproductive organs. Furthermore, an increase in allergen levels; development of antibiotic resistance; and the overexpression of genes that can potentially cause cancer. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) it states that genetically modified fish, such as AquaAdvantage Salmon are safe to eat. Can we trust this artificial process? How will the consumer know which fish is genetically modified? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires food imported from another country to be labeled with Country-of-Origin (COOL) and whether or not the product is “farm raised” or “wild caught”. Look closely at the Atlantic Salmon labels for “farm raised” and “Product of Panama”. Formerly, the FDA didn’t mandate manufacturers to provide any GMO information on their food labels. However, manufacturers can voluntarily label their products with a GMO label to eliminate misleading their consumers. President Obama enacted the GMO Labeling Bill also known as the Dark Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know), effective July 2016. Manufacturers using GMO’s have the option to disclose label on most food packages to by text, symbol or an electronic code (QR code) readable by smartphone, at the manufacturers discretion. Why most food packages? Why not just one standard labeling process? Beware, the labeling of food products that contain GMO’s is still very fishy!

Health Neurotics, LLC is an emerging health promotion firm in Washington, DC offering health promotion consultation products and services. Health Neurotics specialize in diet and physical activity aspects of health promotion and health education for adolescents using health literacy standards and cultural competence to targeted demographics. One of our most celebrated efforts was a guest appearance on Sirius XM Shade 45 nationally syndicated radio show, First Aid with Kelly Kinkaid focusing on Diabetes Awareness Month. Our soon to be available highlighted invention, Body Cycle is a software application game for adolescents 12 and older to actively engage in learning about chronic disease and behavior change.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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