Understanding GMOs

What are GMOs?

Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, are foods that are created when DNA from different species are spliced together in a laboratory setting to create food that doesn’t exist in nature.  They have been engineered to take on desired characteristics such as resistance to pesticides, to produce more food, or grow in harsh conditions.  Genetic Engineering, or GE, is entirely different from hybridization or selective breeding.

Are GMOs safe?

GMOs have not been proven to be safe.  Most developed countries do not consider GMOs to be safe, and genetically modified foods have been banned in many countries altogether.  Labeling of GMO foods is required in 64 other countries; however it is not required in the United States.  This means that it is up to us to educate ourselves on how to avoid genetically modified foods.

What are the concerns with GMOs?

Many health problems have increased significantly since GMOs were introduced in 1996.  The number of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses has increased by 5%, a significant number of Americans have developed food allergies, and many other health concerns are on the rise such as digestive problems, reproductive disorders, and immune problems.

How do I know if I’m eating GMOs?

Unless you are eating organic foods or foods with the Non-GMO verified label, you are consuming GMOs without even realizing it.  The most common genetically modified foods are corn, soy, yellow squash and zucchini, alfalfa, canola, sugar beets, and milk.  Many of these ingredients are added into foods that are commonly eaten.  GMOs may also be in processed food ingredients such as Aspartame, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavorings, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolized Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xantham Gum, Vitamins, or Yeast Products.

How can I avoid consuming GMOs?

Buy organic.  Organic foods cannot be grown using genetically engineered seeds or chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  Look for the Non-GMO verified label.  Avoid processed foods that aren’t organic.  It is estimated that eighty percent of processed foods contain GMOs.

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