So what’s the big fuss about GMO’s? For those that aren’t familiar with GMO…it stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMO foods were developed so that certain crops would be resistant to pesticides such as RoundUp to increase crop production, and was not developed to increase nutritional content. These foods are modified by basically adding/splicing certain proteins from viruses and bacteria into the food’s DNA.
The companies that own the patents to the GMO foods are actually chemical companies…Monsanto owns RoundUp and the patent for their GMO corn that is resistant to RoundUp. Dow is trying to get a patent approved for their GMO corn that is resistant to their pesticide 2,4-D…one of the chemicals used in Agent Orange. Kind of brilliantly evil, no?
California hopes to be the first state to pass a law requiring GMO labeling which is called Prop 37. Check this link out and see how much money is being spent. Monsanto has spent the most so far at $7.1 million against it.
The most common GMO foods are soybeans, corn and sugar beets. Per the U.S. Agriculture Department, 90% of soybeans and sugar beets are GMO, and 85% of corn is. The most common by-product of corn is HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and is found in thousands of processed foods, sodas, etc. In many countries, like Mexico and India, sugar cane is used in sodas such as Coca-Cola. In fact, the U.S. is the only country that uses HFCS in sodas. I was also surprised to learn that GMO sugar beets are most often used to sweeten U.S. manufactured chocolate.
The Center for Food Safety, a non-profit group based in Washington, D.C., estimates that 75% of all grocery store products contain at least one genetically modified ingredient. This means you have probably already eaten a lot of GMO foods without knowing it. Genetic engineering is not allowed in the production of certified organic foods or food ingredients by the way.
Are GMO’s bad for our health? There hasn’t been enough research yet since GMO’s are fairly new. So why are people concerned? Genes are the blueprint for making proteins, and GMO foods contain new types of proteins (from viruses and/or bacteria for example) that were not present before it was genetically modified. Proteins are often the basis for an allergic food reaction, so many doctors and scientists believe that the new proteins in GMO foods may cause these foods to trigger allergic reactions more frequently than the non-GMO foods.
Many scientists also believe that the altered genetic and protein composition of GMO foods may present problems for various systems in the body – including the immune and inflammatory system – and may cause disruption in cell signaling or in digestive tract function. In my humble opinion it’s quite probable that all the GMO’s in our food supply has led to an increase in food intolerance …or it’s simply a weird coincidence.
As a consumer, I want to know what I’m eating and the food product label should state if it contains a GMO ingredient. The ‘industry’ has pushed back and is fighting labeling requirement in the U.S. More than 40 countries require GMO labeling…most of Europe, including Russia, Japan, India and China to name a few. Why not the great U.S.A.? Let me make that choice whether to buy a GMO product or not.