Autism and health fears lead families to abandon science, find scapegoat in GMOs


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When doctors diagnosed their son Ethan with a form of autism Mike and Linda Gioscia found themselves searching for answers. They started researching GMOs and the information Mike and Linda found was overwhelming and confusing, so they made their own call. Even without scientific evidence of harm, they decided to cut out GMOs.

“Now we’re at the point where all the answers come from us,” Mike said.

But it can be hard to tell what food was genetically modified. Most companies don’t list GMOs on food labels. But parents like the Gioscias are forcing the issue.

Several states are considering bills mandating GMO disclosure. But the U.S. Senate is set to consider legislation that would ban states from mandating listing GMOs on food labels.

“The food label is a very important battleground,” said Walter Willett, a Harvard University professor of epidemiology and nutrition. Willett said there’s no evidence that GMOs have a direct impact on health but thinks people have a right to know if GMOs are in their food.

But some warn against demonizing GMOs without understanding their benefits to environment or solving world hunger. “GMOs can reduce the need for as many toxic pesticides, herbicides and insecticides,” said G. Philip Robertson, a professor of ecosystem science at Michigan State University.

But the Gioscias aren’t focused on world hunger or the environment. They’re thinking about Ethan, and the changes they’ve seen after years of a mostly organic, non-GMO diet. They said doctors have told them Ethan is no longer on the autism spectrum.

The Gioscias prioritize parental instincts and their children’s future over unclear science.

Read full, original post: Genetically modified food: Worries outstrip the science

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