GMOs represent a higher risk to children than to adults simply because children’s bodies develop at a fast pace and are more likely to be influenced and show the effects of genetically modified foods.
The chief concerns are:
- Food allergens can be transmitted by GE. Children are more susceptible to food allergies.
- Many GE foods include ‘marker’ genes that carry resistance to ampicillin and other antibiotics.
- rBGH (bioengineered recombinant bovine growth hormone) that is used to stimulate milk production in dairy cows leads to increased levels of an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in their milk. IGF-1 has been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Infants formulas may contain genetically engineered ingredients. This applies whether the formulas are based on soy or cows’ milk. The only way we can be sure of GMO-free formula is if the formula has an organic certification or other recognised certification for GMO-free.
Baby and toddler foods may also contain genetically modified ingredients.
Children are prime consumers of heavily processed and aggressively advertised junk food. As a result, they are at a greater risk of possible side effects of genetically engineered ingredients – usually corn syrup or lecithin.
What can we do to protect our babies and children?
The best way to limit our children’s consumption of food containing GMOs is to:
- buy certified organic products;
- check labels for soy, corn, and cottonseed-based additives – these are most likely to be genetically engineered;
- buy a wide variety of fresh, wholefoods instead of highly processed foods.
- buy from locally grown markets and community food systems where you can talk to the farmer;
- prepare your family’s meals yourself so you know what they are eating.