As the old adage goes, “You are what you eat.” People who consume a healthy diet balanced with ample fruits and veggies ultimately lead longer, healthier lives than those who are grabbing meals on the go. Most of us have seen Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me, the message was received loud and clear.
What then, can we deduce of the rapidly growing trend of GMO foods in our supermarkets?
If this phrase hasn’t made its way into your vocabulary yet, GMO Stands for genetically modified organism, and has become the latest trend in farming. GMO foods are bred in laboratories where scientists cross the DNA from one species -i.e. tomatos, with the DNA of a completely unrelated organism, i.e. salmon, to make crops more resistant to certain factors. In our example this hybrid makes tomato crops more resistant to frost. While the resulting product may sound like innovative thinking, the dangers of this current trend are likely to have long-term consequences for the consumer. Currently 70-80% of foods contain some sort of GMO component and to date, producers are not required to inform the end consumer of which foods are GMO and which food have been grown with conventional methods.
Ultimately the risks are high. Corn and cotton are the most genetically modified products on the market with over 75% of the crops being farmed using these methods. In these cases, there are pesticides built into the genetic makeup of the crop that kills any insect that tries to feast on the plant. While in many studies these pesticides are safe when used topically for farming, when bred in GMO’s the levels of toxicity are hundreds of times more concentrated and unlike topical pesticides cannot be washed off.
The end result, for many, is ingesting items that your body cannot completely break down leading to possible deregulation of the immune system. This causes various inflammatory conditions associated with asthma, allergies and digestive disorders. Not to mention the toxic side effects on our organs. Remember, corn is used in most processed products on the market today. Oils, sugars and all items that contain MSG have ingredients made from some form of corn, making it virtually impossible to avoid for many consumers. Although the FDA has claimed that there is not yet enough information to link GMO’s to major health conditions, independent research is proving otherwise.
A 2011 study conducted in France found that mice fed a 90 day diet of GMO soy products developed severe liver and kidney damage in over 40% of those tested. http://www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10
100’s of studies conducted throughout the United States and overseas are producing similar results causing consumers to question how safe these products actually are.
The idea of being able to eat organic was once a safety net for those concerned about GMO’s. However, recent crop testing is showing that contamination of organic crops is occasionally occurring due to cross-pollination from bees and other insects roaming from farm to farm.
Because of these and many other issues relating to GMO farming, numerous organizations have developed over the years to urge the FDA to label GMO products. Education is the first step to ensure that you are eating the highest quality food possible, the second is demanding conclusive testing and labeling.
If you are interested in GMO products or are looking for information on how you can become involved in petitioning for change, the links below can provide you additional information.