GMO is a genetically modified organism. It is the process in which scientists change the DNA of plants and animals. DNA make up a combination of genes and molecules that make each person and plant unique. Scientists selectively remove and replace plant genes to enable food crops to produce it’s own pesticide to protect itself against insect invasion. Primarily GMO’s ingredients are in most processed foods. Some of the most common GMO foods are soy, and corn. These foods are primarily made into animal feed , or made into highly processed ingredients including cornstarch, soybean oil, and high fructose corn syrup. While sweet corn, and zucchini are in the produce isles of the grocery store. I find this highly disturbing, as I love sweet corn.
As consumers we should not assume that foods that contain GMO’s are safe. There are no studies that examine the long-term effects on health and the environment. The FDA has very loose regulations when it comes to GMO. It only requires that food manufacturers voluntarily share its data from its independent studies. The US also does not require companies to list GMOs on food labels. I personally believe that this is unacceptable. Labels should include all product ingredients, including GMO. If you are bold enough to manufacture GMO, you should be bold enough to display it on the label. This lack of transparency shows that companies cannot be trusted. As consumers we should be able to read a product ingredient label and make an informed decision before we purchase. By not divulging this information it creates a sense of distrust. We should be able to make a conscious decision on everything we eat.
The only way to protect ourselves from GMO foods is to educate ourselves about the most common GMO foods. Knowledge is power. The more you know the better you can make an informed decision on what foods are safe before you buy.
Here are 5 ways you educate yourself about GMO foods before you buy:,
1) Read product labels
We cannot assume that food manufacturers have our best interest at heart. Get in the habit of reading food labels.
2.)Select foods with simplistic ingredients.
You should not have to have an advanced degree to interpret what’s in your food. Learn to read food, reduce and/or eliminate processed foods.
3). Buy fruits and vegetables from the local farmers market
Large grocery stores tend to purchase a majority of there produce form large scale companies that tend to produce GMO foods with a goal of minimizing insect infestation and maximizing profit. Local farmers use old school farming methods that do not involve GMO. Small farmers cannot afford the large cost associated with producing GMO.
4). Phase out processed food
Processed food contain artificial ingredients that can have toxic health effects. This combined with GMO can create the ideal environment for disease.
5). Use sites to help select foods free of GMO
Sites like the Non GMO project to verify that the products you select are GMO free. This site uses a third party to verify that ingredients are non-GMO.