Allergic reactions happen when the immune system tries to fight a foreign thing that gets into your body. This fight typically is for bacteria and viruses that cause you to get sick. It is the body’s way of fighting infections.
In the case of an allergy, the person has an abnormal reaction to a typically harmless thing, such as milk. Chemicals are released to fight what the body sees as something that shouldn’t be there, and this causes the symptoms we call an allergy. These symptoms vary widely – hives, coughing, or swelling to name a few.
Click the item in the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or continue to read the whole article.
Which food allergies are most common?
The most common allergic reactions are to milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
Are food allergies on the rise?
Not that long ago, there was virtually no one who was allergic to dairy, gluten, or most any other food. Today, about 15 million Americans have some kind of food allergy. Everything we buy is labeled due to the fear that someone will have an allergic reaction to some of the ingredients.
According to the CDC, children’s food allergies increased by 50% from 1997 to 2011.
Where are all these food allergies coming from? It is doubtful that people have evolved into highly allergic beings in such a short time span. So logic says that something has changed to cause these allergies.
One thing that has changed drastically is our food supply.
How has our food changed?
Years ago, food was mostly grown close to home. People relied on local produce. They often had a small garden if they lived outside of a city. Meat, pork, and poultry were raised locally, fed natural grains and/or grasses, and given no hormones or antibiotics. Fish were caught commercially, not farm raised. Dairies were local, with mom and pop milking morning and night. Eggs were from someone’s yard.
In big cities, local farmers brought their meat, produce, and other food to distribution points where grocers and other food suppliers would purchase it and offer it in their stores.
Now most produce on grocer’s shelves has come 1500-2500 miles and is at least a week old. Apples are often a year old!
Meat is primarily raised in feed lots, with many animals crowded into small spaces. Antibiotics are used to fight disease. Dairies are notoriously filthy and the cows are diseased. Fish are farm raised, again with large numbers in small ponds.
Most food served at home was real – made from scratch. The food that was preserved was done naturally, such as meat cured with salt, not nitrates. The food we eat today often comes out of a box and is full of chemical additives and preservatives, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and glyphosate.
Restaurants cooked food from scratch, with most being locally owned and operated. Fast food restaurants were not on every corner. In fact, many of the fast food chains of today had barely gotten started.
Milk is the number one food allergy in America today.
In order to increase milk production, in 1994 dairy companies started injecting cows with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This a genetically engineered protein that had no human trials to prove it was safe.
After the introduction of rBGH, cows began to have more disease. Instead of fixing that problem, large doses of antibiotics were given to the cows. A different topic for another time, but this has led to antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are now plaguing us.
Over 30 countries don’t use rBGH because it has not been tested and proven safe for use. But, as with other GMOs and questionable things added to our food supply, the U.S. has decided since it has not been proven un-safe, it is ok.
rBGH is in milk, butter, cheese and is consumed daily by many millions of Americans. Yet it has only been tested on rats for a very short period of time.
The other thing that has changed in our dairy supply is that mom and pop no longer milk the cows. The dairy industry is big business with concentrated animal feeding operations. This means lots of animals in filthy, crowded spaces. They are no longer pasture raised but fed GMO corn laced with chemical additives.
The inhumane treatment of dairy cows causes them to be stressed and sick. Cows are usually culled before they are 3 years old. They are injected with all sorts of hormones including pituitary, hypothalamic, thyroid, steroids, and a myriad of other substances. And all this gets passed on to you!
Large dairy farms are not only inhumane but are pretty dirty too. Today’s milk usually contains pus, blood, and feces. No wonder it has to be pasteurized. The average glass of milk contains 322 million puss cells. And the USDA allows up to 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of milk
Got Milk? Yes, but what else is in it?
What foods contain additives and preservatives?
Prepackaged food was introduced to Americans after World War II. It began with military food, which was designed for long-term storage and was easy to prepare. With more and more women entering the workforce in the late 60s to early 70s, these prepackaged meals became a staple of the working mom.
Today the typical American spends most of their food budget on packaged or processed foods. These should really be called food-like substances, as they have been chemically treated or altered in some way before they make it to our tables.
Most of these prepackaged food-like substances contain additives and preservatives. Pure and simple, all additives are chemicals, and nearly all preservatives used today are chemicals. Read the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce something, it’s an additive or preservative.
Additives are typically flavorings, colorings, and added vitamins and minerals. Preservatives are added to extend the shelf life since packaged food is often not used for months or years.
Most people think that the FDA protects us from unhealthy additives and preservatives. But that is not necessarily true. While the FDA does list some additives as approved, many that are in use have never been approved by the FDA.
Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) is a term used by the FDA when a substance added to food is generally considered safe. This term is used for many additives, preservatives, dyes, etc. in packaged food that have never been tested. Instead, they are just believed to be ok.
There is seldom one additive or preservative. Instead, we are given a chemical soup, and there are few, if any, studies to show the effects of possible interactions of all of these various chemicals. Nor are there any studies to show the cumulative effect of all these chemicals in our food.
In 2010, one study concluded that kids who eat junk food have more allergies than those who eat a more traditional diet.
When did GMOs become popular and what foods are they in?
A GMO is developed in a lab with genes from the DNA of one species put into the genes of a different plant or animal. These genes come from bacteria, viruses, plants, or animals.
The first GMO was approved by the FDA in 1994. However, they really started taking off in 1996, when Monsanto developed plants that were resistant to Round-Up (glyphosate). By 1999, over 100 million acres were planted with GMO seeds.
They are now the primary feed for cattle, pigs, and fish. They are also in almost all packaged or processed foods.
Wheat, soybeans, corn, and canola (which is made from rapeseed) are the most prevalent GMO crops. While banned in many countries, the U.S. does not even require that they be labeled. Unless you eat foods labeled “organic”, you are getting a big dose of bacteria and/or virus DNA from insects, animals, or who knows what.
Interesting is that shortly after GMOs were added, allergies began to rise. Coincidence? Possibly, but many don’t think so.
Recall from above that an allergic reaction occurs when the body senses something foreign invading your system. So it is highly believable that since a GMO introduces a new protein which the body might have never seen before, it will react as if fighting a virus or bacteria, creating allergy symptoms.
Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director Institute of Responsible Technology says, “Levels of one known soy allergen, trypsin inhibitor, were up to seven times higher in cooked GM soy compared to cooked non-GM soy. Another study discovered a unique, unexpected protein in GM soy, likely to trigger allergies. In addition, of eight human subjects who had a skin-prick (allergy-type) reaction to GM soy, one did not also react to non-GM soy, suggesting that GM soy is uniquely dangerous.” Yet it is fed to the animals we eat and is in nearly all packaged food.
In the book, “Genetic Roulette”, Jeffery Smith states, “In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Therefore they are safe to eat, and absolutely no safety studies were required. But internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMOs. In addition, the FDA official in charge of creating this policy was Michael Taylor, the former attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company, and later their vice president. In reality, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.”
In a 1999 study, researchers found that allergic reactions to soy had increased 50% from the prior year. The soy used in this study was genetically modified.
As stated above, GMOs have not been tested by the FDA. Instead, they are like many additives and preservatives, considered GRAS.
Specifically with respect to GMOs, Theresa Eisenman, spokeswoman for the FDA states, “it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that the [GMO] food products it offers for sale are safe…”
The FDA has not required any independent safety testing for GMOs. Companies present their studies to the FDA, and surprisingly, they don’t even have to submit the complete study. Summary data is acceptable for the FDA to review.
If you think the FDA is safeguarding your health, think again. Without the complete study and associated data, how could they possibly determine if the study was valid and the product is safe?
And even if they submitted the complete study and all the associated data, it is well known that industry-funded studies are more likely to have positive findings. In most, if not all industries, negative findings are suppressed.
There have been no human studies that prove GMOs are safe – PERIOD. There is no data to show if they cause illness, allergies, or anything else. The data is just not there.
We repeat, it is a BIG coincidence that allergies have been on the rise since GMOs were introduced into our food supply. More and more GMOs in our food just happens to coincide with more and more allergies.
Are glyphosate and pesticides in our food?
Coincidentally there is a similar thing going on with glyphosate and other pesticides in our food supply.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has stated that the FDA’s testing of pesticide levels is not statistically valid, nor adequate to say our food is safe.
And since most GMO crops were developed to be resistant to glyphosate, we get a double whammy. Unknown effects of GMOs in crops which are now doused with chemicals.
What is glyphosate, and where is it used?
Monsanto introduced glyphosate in 1974. It is a weed killer and started being used extensively on food crops when Monsanto developed glyphosate resistant plants in 1996. Farmers could now spray their fields with glyphosate to kill the weeds, but not their crops.
Between 1987 and 2012, farm use of glyphosate in the U.S. grew from 11 million to 300 million pounds.
Again, the timing is coincidental with the rise in allergies in the U.S.
Today, it is literally sprayed on every corn and soy crop, and in some areas, it is used to kill wheat just before harvest, so that it is easier to harvest. Some believe that the explosion of wheat allergies and gluten intolerance is really an allergy to glyphosate.
A 2012 study showed that people who were exposed to Dichlorophenols (DCPs) were more likely to develop allergies. DCPs are found in pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine used to purify drinking water.
The U.S government doesn’t test food for glyphosate residues, nor does it monitor for that chemical in people. So we really have no idea how much people are exposed to or how much is getting into our bodies.
But, we do know that glyphosate residue has been found in 90 percent of soybeans sampled. It has also been found in 70 percent of rainfall samples. This is a really scary statistic. Not only is on the plants, and in the food we eat, but now it is in our water supply.
What has caused allergies to rise?
The bottom line: While there is no single scientific study that concludes exactly what causes food allergies, there are several smoking guns, all held in the hands of our food supply and pointed at us!
About the only way to avoid those smoking guns is to eat organically grown food. Organically grown means, “grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.”
Want to avoid allergies? Try eating the way people ate 50 years ago. Fresh, organic, real food with no chemicals or GMOs.