The Scoop On GMOs

By Kara Greenwood

At some point during the past couple of months you have probably came across the term GMO. GMO or Genetically Modified Organisms have been a popular topic and debate in the news lately.  The debate is about whether GMOs are harmful or not.  We are here to break down the basic facts regarding GMOs and how they affect you.

What does GMO Mean?

A GMO or Genetically Modified Organism is a plant or animal DNA that has been manipulated by the DNA from a completely different organism. Since the 1990s, many food products contain GMOs, which are ingredients that are engineered to resist pesticides, diseases, and boost nutrition.

What is the problem?

There are many concerns involving GMOs because these plants have been modified in a laboratory. Using molecular biology techniques, the foreign additives in the foods may have negative effects on human health.  Unless you have only consumed organic foods throughout your entire life, you have definitely consumed GMOs, or foods that contain ingredients where the genes were tweaked in a laboratory.

The huge debate is that the government is trying to pass laws that make it mandatory for food companies to label if the product contains genetically engineered ingredients.  Although some argue that there is no harm when consuming GMOs, people believe that America should still have a right to know exactly what is in their food.  In fact, 80 percent of processed foods in the U.S. contain GMOs and almost all the soybean, corn, and canola grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered.

If it’s controversial then why are people growing GMOs?

Giant food corporations are less concerned with the health of Americans and more focused on making profit and gaining power.  If these crops are designed to withstand pesticides, droughts, and cold temperatures, then that means cheaper production costs and more success for the company.  Basically, any highly processed foods contains GMOs, such as America’s favorite snack brands such as Frito Lay, Tostitos, Ritz, Pringles, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, and Kellogg’s.

Then what can you eat?

The best way to avoid GMOs is to buy organic foods.  A product that is USDA Organic means that it is not allowed to contain ingredients with GMOs.  What happens if you can’t eat 100 percent organic?  A third party non-profit organization called the Non-GMO project is working to help consumers make smart choices in the supermarket.  The official “Non-GMO Project Verified Seal” shows that the food is verified non-GMO and that it is a true statement.

Overall, it is smart to try an avoid any type of food containing GMOs because the mutation process isn’t natural and the result of consuming them is unknown.

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Categories: Your Nutrition

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