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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)By: Kristen White & Emmy Williams

What Are GMOs?Plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals.

This is usually done to enhance production by making disease or insect-resistant plants, improving yield, or controlling weeds.

It is often created to improve the appearance or enhance the nutrients in food.

Are GMOs Safe?Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world (Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union) there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.

Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

How Common Are GMOs?In the US, GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed foods.However, there are several grocery stores and brands that promote Non-GMO foods.

Most Common GM foods?Milk CrackersCerealSnack barsCookiesCanned soups Processed lunch meats Vegetable & canola oilsMeatSoySweetened juicesFrozen foodsCarbonated soft drinks

A Common Example of GMO Unfortunately, many fruits, such as apples, are genetically modified in order to keep them from turning brown quickly.

Are GMOs Labeled?Polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food theyre purchasing contains GMOs. However, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public.In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Arguments For GM FoodsPeople have been developing food crops through selective breeding since the beginning of agriculture.

Genetically modified seeds and products are tested for safety, and there has never been a link between human illness resulting from GM consumption.

Insect and weed resistant GM crops will allow farmers to use fewer chemical insecticides.

GM crops can be created to grow more quickly than conventional crops, increasing food yield.

Nutrition enhanced crops can address malnutrition.

Arguments Against GM FoodsGenetic modification is fundamentally different (and more problematic) than selective breeding.

There havent been enough independent studies of GM products to confirm their safety.

Actually, there are potential health risks if GM products approved for other uses are mistakenly used in products for human consumption.

Inadvertent cross pollination can lead to super weeds which are insect resistant crops that could be harmful to plants and wildlife.

Because corporations create and patent GM seeds, they control the market, forcing farmers to become reliant on these corporations.

Human Health Risks Causes new allergens and allergic reactions in susceptible individualsCan cause antibiotic resistanceThree strains of corn showed signs of causing possible liver and kidney toxicityImmune problemsInfertilityAccelerated aging

Scientists say, there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation.

The Non-GMO ProjectThe Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting the non-GMO food supply and giving consumers an informed choice.

They offer North Americas ONLY third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.

Their strategy is to empower consumers to make change through the marketplace.

If people stop buying GMOs, companies will stop using them and farmers will stop growing them.

Do Americans Want Non-GMO Foods?Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food theyre purchasing contains GMOs.

A 2012 Mellman Group poll found that 91% of American consumers wanted GMOs labeled.

According to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, 53% of consumers said they would NOT buy foods that have been genetically modified.

The Non-GMO Projects seal for verified products will, for the first time, give the public an opportunity to make an informed choice when it comes to GMOs.

How Can You Avoid GMOs?Choose foods and products that are Non-GMO Project Verified.

This verification seal indicates that the product has gone through their verification process.

References:Non GMO Project

Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?

10 Foods to Avoid

My Health: An Outcomes ApproachDonatelle, Rebecca J. My Health: An Outcomes Approach. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Institutes for Responsible Technology