Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a huge topic of discussion these days. Are you cooking with GMO or non-GMO foods? Do you go to a restaurant that is concerned about this? Add that into the gluten free discussion and you have a very popular gluten free news item.
Since a study came out last week from the Institute of Responsible Technology (IRT), suggesting a possible link between GMOs and gluten sensitivity, I have seen a lot of reports:
- Genetically Modified Foods Proposed as Trigger for Gluten Sensitivity (Institute for Responsible Technolgy, News Release November 25, 2013)
- Report Suggestions Link between GMOs and Gluten Sensitivity (Whole Foods Magazine Published November 25, 2013)
- GMOs Linked to Gluten Disorders Plaguing 18 Million Americans -Report (RT.com, Published November 26, 2013)
- News Release, GMOs Linked to Exploding Gluten Sensitivity Epidemic (GreenMedInfo.com, Published November 25, 2013)
- Are GMOs Responsible for your Gluten Intolerance? (Care2.com, Published November 27, 2013)
- New Study Links GMOs to Gluten Disorders that affect 18 Million Americans (CollectiveEvolution.com, Published November 29, 2013)
These articles are all based on the initial IRT news release.
I had seen it floating around just before Thanksgiving and I wanted to learn more. So when a friend of mine on Facebook sent me the latest article while on vacation this week, I had to find out more. I wondered if the study was true and what the experts in the trenches of gluten sensitivity research thought about it.
Is the GMO and Gluten Sensitivity report true?
Tuesday, December 3rd I emailed the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General in Boston. Alessio Fasano, MD is the Medical Director for the Center for Celiac Research, Chief in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition for Mass General Hospital for Children and he sees both adult and pediatric patients. Overall, his opinion is backed with tons of knowledge, research and experience and he, as well as other researchers, are actively looking into gluten sensitivity.
I asked what Dr. Fasano thought about this story about GMOs possibly being linked to gluten sensitivity. Today, he told me in a quick email this, “…there is no evidence whatsoever that GMOs are responsible for gs [gluten sensitivity].”
Then I saw the very day I asked Dr. Fasano my question, the Celiac Disease Foundation and a plant geneticist also “challenged” the IRT report. The Celiac Disease Foundation went on the record with FoodNavigator-USA.com calling the study “speculative” and that there is “no sufficient evidence” linking GMOs and celiac. You can read much more on the in-depth article on Food Navigator’s website.
Last week’s news release from the Institute for Responsible Technology, “proposed” the GMOs may be an “important environmental trigger for gluten sensitivity”. Truth: we do need an environmental trigger for celiac disease (to activate celiac you need the gene, the gluten and a trigger). But what the experts in gluten sensitivity are saying is there is no connection with GMOs triggering gluten sensitivity.
We should also be clear that at this time no genetically modified wheat is being sold in the world (according to GMO Compass). The wheat has been hybridized however. Corn, soy, zucchini, canola oil and sugar from sugar beets are just a few of the common products that are often genetically modified.
Many people in this country eat GMO foods, many others eat non-GMO foods and some eat both. Please keep this information in mind when making your GMO decision.