The Oxford English Dictionary defines "poison" as "a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed."
The legal definition of the term is "any product or substance that can harm someone if it is used in the wrong way, by the wrong person, or in the wrong amount."
The medical condition of poisoning is even broader: It can be caused by substances that are not even legally required to carry the label "poison."
Therefore, can food become poisonous? Of course it can if it is infected, tampered with or altered in any way that causes it to become detrimental to its consumer. In fact, that's what we call "food poisoning."
But what about the genetic engineering, tampering or alteration of our food supply? If it causes bodily harm, even over the long haul, could that be considered poisoning?
I call again to the stand Dr. George Wald, a Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and one of the first scientists to speak out about the dangers of genetically engineered foods. He explained: "Recombinant DNA technology (genetic engineering) faces our society with problems unprecedented, not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. ... Now whole new proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism or their neighbors. ... For going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics."
Last week, I discussed the dangers of genetic engineering to crop seeds and other foods. As a response, one of the readers of "C-Force," my weekly health and fitness column, asked, "What do you think are the best ways to avoid GMOs when they aren't even labeled on food ingredients?"
Let me tell you how I responded.
First, contact your governmental officials, and ask them to endorse or support legislation that requires food companies to start listing whether their products use GMOs.
At least 14 states have introduced legislation on genetically modified ingredient labeling, but most face government gridlock. So take action, and keep foods safe (non-genetically engineered) by contacting your state and federal representatives -- as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- and tell them to legislate that genetically modified ingredients be labeled on every package.