Let’s say that you have been hearing a lot about GMO’s lately. You see it on social media. You hear it in conversations or on television news. You spot the little “GMO Free” labels in the supermarket. BUT,… you really aren’t sure just what that all means or why there has been such an uproar about GMO’s recently.
That’s okay. Nobody’s mad at you! Let me just take a few moments to fill you in on what you may have missed so far, because this information about GMO’s really is worth your while.
What are GMO’s?
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. (Much easier to just say GMO, isn’t it?) GMO’s are crops, plants, produce, and animals that are created using a gene splicing technique called genetic engineering. Basically, these plants and animals have been genetically altered so that they are no longer grown in the way that nature intended. These alterations are done so that organism will live despite application of herbicides and pesticides.
Why is there such uproar about GMO’s?
Well, when a crop such as rice or corn has been modified with a toxin, it becomes part of that crop’s DNA. When you purchase GMO foods such as rice or corn (or any food item made with those crops), and prepare it for yourself or your family, you are essentially serving toxins for dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast. Or snacks.
GMO’s are present in numerous grains, fruits, vegetables, and even some salmon. (And if you live in the state of Florida, you can now find GMO’s in mosquitos too.) Not only are GMO’s found in the crop itself, but there are a variety of common ingredients found in packaged goods (including foods, supplements, and even personal care items) that also often contain GMO’s, such as: Amino Acid, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavorings, and Maltodextrins.
The other concern is that there is one major company who has what some call a monopoly on the farming industry because of their distribution of pesticides and herbicides. This particular company promotes themselves as pro-American and pro-farmer, though us anti-GMO folks tend to wonder what is so American about creating and distributing poison to American citizens. This company (plus one decent sized competitor) also uses millions of dollars annually for lobbying purposes, so, shall we say, it has been influential in more ways than one. Let’s put it this way. GMO’s are banned in over 60 countries, but not here in the good old U.S. of A. Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?
And even those of us who actively avoid GMO’s are still susceptible to its harmful effects, since the toxins used on crops are known to be invading our water supply too.
Research has linked pesticide use with a number of frightening health related concerns, including the potential for:
Increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease
Increased risk of having a child with Autism and other brain disorders
Increased risk or exacerbation of gluten-related disorders
Increased risk of breast and prostate cancer
Damage to gut bacteria (and let us not forget that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut)
Increased risk of antibiotic resistance
So what can I do to avoid GMO’s?
Glad to hear that you are on board! First of all, know what you are eating and what you are feeding your family. The best way to avoid GMO’s is too purchase organic grains and produce, and to look for the non GMO verified seal on packaged goods. You can also find a comprehensive list of non GMO verified products at http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/. It is currently not required for a company to label whether their product contains GMO in this country, so right now it is up to us to do the legwork.
You can also look for products with the USDA organic seal. The use of genetic engineering is strictly prohibited in organic products. According to the USDA, “To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.”
You can also work with your local legislators who support GMO-free foods or those who support transparency in GMO labeling. For more information or to get involved in your home state, go to http://www.righttoknow-gmo.org.
One of my most repeated lines on this site is that we as consumers not only have to use our voices, but we have to use our dollars in a way that sends a message. This is all about business, so as consumers we need to get into the game. When we start demanding change with their wallets, changes will be made.
Related posts: How to Eliminate Toxins & Why You Should