Everywhere we turn there’s new information about GMO’s. Some say avoid them like the plague, others say they’re perfectly safe. Who are we supposed to believe? And what’s a GMO anyway?
A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Essentially, scientists are able to extract specific genes from one organism to alter the genes of another organism. This is not the same as hybrid or cross-pollinating. Basically, they are engineering a new organism (crop/plant) that could never naturally appear in nature.
Corn, soy, and sugar beets (used in many “natural” beverages & products) are the most commonly genetically modified crops.
Why? Trying to create a pest-resistant crop is high on the list of reasons. Monsanto (also brought us Agent Orange, Dioxin, Saccharin, and Glyphosate) is largely behind research, funding, and creating our GMO’s. “Nutrient enrichment” is another theory behind genetically modifying organisms.
More beta-carotene, helping malnourished kids, what could be wrong with that?
Well, there’s two sides. Many scientists (and Monsanto) claim that GMO’s are safe and helping to enrich the health and lives of millions around the world.
The other side, however, believe that GMO’s are directly related to food allergies, antibiotic resistance, disease, toxic to bees & butterflies (imperative for natural pollination), as well as lasting environmental harm.
The only thing we know for sure is we don’t know.
What if GMO’s help eradicate world hunger?
What if GMO’s are the cause of autism, nut allergies, and cancer?
Since the inception of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the US has largely run with a safe until proven hazardous ideology. That seems to be the guiding principle behind GMO’s as well.
We can’t prove that they’re causing disease & ecological nightmares twenty-five years from now, so they must be safe. Right? Twenty-six other countries disagree and have banned GMO usage.
A big part of the debate today focuses on labeling. Should companies be required to specify which ingredients have been genetically modified?
How do you know if you’re eating something with genetically modified ingredients? Considering 80-90% of all American processed foods contain GMOs, odds are good that you’re ingesting them.
If you believe your genetically engineered pest-resistant, freeze-resistant, immunity- boosting, ultra-antioxidant, super food is truly superior wouldn’t you want “Yes, I’m GMO” proudly labeled? Why hide it?
If you are interested in limiting your consumption of GMO’s, you do have some help.
The Non-GMO Project is the leading the pack in labeling. They are currently the only third-party verification (non-profit) organization in North America.
Look for their seal on one of their verified 27,000 products. You can also follow their ever-growing list of verified restaurants, products, and retailers.
Likewise, a product with a USDA Organic seal (non-gmo seal does not certify organic ingredients) also indicated non-genetically modified.
Or, visit your local farmer’s market. Ask the farmers if they use GMO seeds, which pesticides they use, and their thoughts on growing the healthiest crops.
non-gmo/organic seal photo credit