Talking Allergies

genetic engineered food
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Author:  Helen [ Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  genetic engineered food

From Dec. 3rd's Toronto Star (Life section-p. M4)

"Peas find bean gene too plain"

(I'm summarizing/rewording here):
A pea with a bean gene which produces a protein which repels pests has been discovered to cause allergies in mice even when the genetically-engineered pea is cooked. This protein *does not* cause allergic reactions in mice or people when found in beans [editorial comment from me here: how can they be sure? can't any protein cause a reaction?]. While the protein is identical in each plant, pea plant enzymes surrounded it with "simple sugars and other molecules in a way that increased the likelihood of an allergic reaction."

reference: study reported in the _Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry_
I thought it was just the protein that caused an allergic reaction---but I guess molecules surrounding the protein can make it more likely that one can become sensitized to the protein.

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here's a link to the article:

Personally, I really think gm foods needs to be looked into closely as a possible reason why there is such an increase in allergies. And in the severity of reactions.

Author:  Helen [ Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the link!
I agree that we don't know enough about GM foods to know whether they are safe. I came across this one article which suggests that there are *some* concerns about GM foods and allergies but that the GM foods undergo extensive testing and they have the issue under control. I found that slightly reassuring until I saw that one of the coauthors works for Monsanto---creator of Agent Orange (now banned), the controversial bovine growth hormone that is banned in Canada (but not in the US) (and of course the company develops and patents gm foods)......hmmm...potential conflict of interest here?!?

"Risks of allergic reactions to biotech proteins in foods: perception and reality" in _Allergy_, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 559-564, May 2005.

authors: S. G. Lehrer (Tulane University School of Medicine), G. A. Bannon (Product Characterization Center [whatever that is], the Monsanto company)

From the abstract:

The primary allergy risk to consumers from genetically modified crops may be placed into one of three categories. The first represents the highest risk to the allergic consumer is the transfer of known allergen or cross-reacting allergen into a food crop. The second category, representing an intermediate risk to the consumer, is the potential for replacing the endogenous allergenicity of a genetically-modified crop. The last category involves expression of novel proteins that may become allergens in man and generally represents a relatively low risk to the consumer, although this possibility has received attention of late. In order to mitigate the three categories of potential allergy risk associated with biotech crops, all genes introduced into food crops undergo a series of tests designed to determine if the biotech protein exhibits properties of known food allergens. The result of this risk assessment process to date is that no biotech proteins in foods have been documented to cause allergic reactions. These results indicate that the current assessment process is robust, although as science of allergy and allergens evolves, new information and new technology should help further the assessment process for potential allergenicity.

This seems *so* overly simplistic especially in light of the problem with the genetically engineered pea.

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:37 pm ]
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I'm pretty much against genetically modified foods. The highest rate of allergies in the world exists in "industrialized countries". Agriculture here tends to be a "for profit business" that profits from the ability of a crop to resist pests, and do well regardless of growing conditions. It does not take into account that the modified crops being produced are not in their proper genetic structure...and bound to create problems when consumed. The only info out their on their so called "safety" seems to be produced by those who profit from their sales. Peanuts do not cause nearly the problems in other countries that they cause in industrialized countries. Is it because our peanuts are altered from their original genetic structure to maximize yield?

This kind of reminds me of cigarettes. At some time they were approved for sale in canada, and after all, tobacco is just a plant too.

There has to be some reason why allergies have increased so rapidly in industrialized countries and not in developing countries. Personally, I would like to blame genetic modification, pesticides, chemicals, and polution.

Author:  Helen [ Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:06 pm ]
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I think all those factors probably have contributed to the rise of allergies....and we know that people's pollen allergies are worse on smog days.

Here's one scientist who agrees (about the link b/n allergies and GM foods): (This is posted on the site managed by: Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology.) see their home page:

I find this site difficult to navigate---this page will take you directly to info. on gm foods:

They have *tons* of well-documented info. on genetically modified foods. The members of the organization, though, are unlisted because of job-security concerns. (One of their members---a university professor--was fired...possibly on account of the views expressed on the website.)

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:01 pm ]
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This is a little bit off-topic, but, when I first developed my allergies nobody I knew (including myself) had ever heard of adult-onset food allergies. When people would ask me why this happened to me (and they actually thought i would know :lol: ) I always blamed it on *broccoflower*. I had seen it somewhere shortly before developing my allergies and it was just so freaky to me.

In my opinion - God made broccoli and God made cauliflower. Some person decided to combine the two and come up with broccoflower and there is absolutely nothing normal or natural about it, and I felt immediately that this was a very bad sign. Haven't these people ever heard the rule "Don't fool with Mother Nature".

I do think there are a lot of things contributing to the increase in allergies - but inside, I still blame the broccoflower. :shock:

Author:  Helen [ Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:57 pm ]
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This is the first time I've heard of broccoflower :) I'll watch out for it.

Author:  Mylène [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:32 pm ]
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AnnaMarie, have you seen the orange cauliflowers that came out this summer? ;)

Many years ago, I read that they were looking to put something from fish in tomatoes :shock: ... and then as a presevative in ice cream... then as.... and the list goes on... Do I need to add that I have stopped reading instead of stop eating? ;) One day it may catch up to me, but until then I keep some level of sanity (not much these days... but normally I am sane :D )

Author:  AnnaMarie [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:40 pm ]
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I'm guessing the broccoflower wasn't very popular. I haven't seen it in years. It looked like cauliflower but it was green instead of white. Rather nauseating actually.

I guess the orange is a cross with carrots? So would that be carroflower? :roll: And no, I haven't seen it.

I don't have a fish allergy, but I do NOT want fish added to anything unless I add it myself.

Author:  Mylène [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:08 pm ]
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maybe it's mixed with carrots... that's why I haven't tried it!!!! brocoflowers are still around... I think... maybe it depends on the area...

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:40 pm ]
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O though the brocoflower was lime green (not very appetising :P )

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