I will get back to my garden planning series in the next couple of days, a forum member was gracious enough to supply a very special gift for all of you, and it inspired to me to create a post to go along with it.
The term GMO has certainly had its share of press over recent years, enough so that many of us know that it is something we need to be concerned about. This fact in and of itself has created a battle between consumers and the companies that use GMO products. Companies fear that labeling will cause the public to assume that the product is bad for them, and that this will hurt their profits, while others say that consumers have the right to know.
What are GMO Products
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, this term in and of itself is enough to worry me. Why is someone modifying my food? Is there are reason for it, and what are the ramifications for doing so? More about that later, first if you want to make an informed choice about GMO foods, you have to understand just what they are.
GMO crops have had changes made to the DNA with the use of genetic engineering techniques. Changes are made to make crops grow faster, make them resistant to disease and insects, as well as to encourage them to produce extra nutrients.
On the outside this sounds like a good thing right? But some changes have gotten carried away, such as modifying crops to be resistant to herbicides so that weeds can be sprayed on a field full of food. There are other reasons why GMO may be of concern despite the fact that many scientists and corporations have insisted that there is nothing wrong with them.
Are GMO Products Bad for YOU?
First off I have a theory, any time you add something to a natural food that does not belong there, it is not a good thing. Nature’s foods are perfect the way they are, without being altered or changed in any way. I believe that no good can come from altering the DNA of anything, and that includes our food supply.
GMO is rampant, and it is a good bet that unless you eat all the food from your own farm or you eat all organic foods you are eating GMO foods. It is estimated that 90% of the corn crop is now GMO, and when you consider how many products have corn derivatives in them this it makes GMO’s pretty hard to avoid unless you know now.
But there are good reasons to avoid GMO foods, perhaps one of the most important is that there have not been enough studies to prove the GMO are safe. Past experiments with food have proved to be unsuccessful and even dangerous, such as trans-fats, and there is concern among many scientists that genetically modified foods may have unforeseen side effects in the long term. In fact many of the GMO food studies have produced results that seem to support the fact that GMO is not only doing its intended job, but they are having some unintended consequences.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to GMOs is that modifying the genes of plants make them less genetically diverse and hence less robust. This has a lot of potential impacts on our food supply, think about inbreeding in people or animals, the product of inbreeding is an offspring that is not as hardy as its parents and other ancestors. With plants this means plants that are more susceptible to disease not less, that cannot handle environmental adversity nearly as well as genetically diverse seeds can.
GMOs Are Not Labeled
Food labels list just about everything else, from how much fat, sugar and nutrients are in your food to any potential allergy issues, but manufacturers are not required to label foods as GMO. If there is no problem with these genetically modified foods then labeling should not be an issue.
I have decided for my family that GMO’s are something to be concerned about and something to be avoided, just as much as BPA, pesticides and trans fats. In the end it is up to us to make sure the food we feed our family is healthy, and provides the right nutrients. There is no reason to buy food that has been genetically modified and the only real reason to grow it is greed. Many people believe that somehow these foods have helped to feed starving nations, but there are no studies that say that these food have provided any of the benefits that they are supposed to provide.
Choosing non GMO foods can be difficult, when it comes to produce the safest thing to do is to buy organic or grow your own from non GMO seeds (more about this in a future post). When it comes to packaged foods my free gift below can help you find foods that do not include GMO crops.
Your Free Gift
First of all, be looking for an upcoming post, I will be doing a lengthy post about seeds and helping you to determine the differences between GMO, Non GMO, organic, heirloom and more with the seeds you buy and where to buy them from.
In the meantime enjoy this PDF, it is a list of manufacturers that offer Non GMO foods, and I have also provide some links and books for further reading if you want to know more about GMOs.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, I will be adding to this list as I find more companies, and I may try to provide links as well as descriptions of the products available. In the meantime, if you know of a company that is not in this list, leave it in the comment section and I will add it!
Sources and links to more info:
Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating
Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers
Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
Emily Allred says
It is really interesting to read your thoughts so recently after listening to/watching this NPR piece about GMOs (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/20/169847199/former-anti-gmo-activist-says-science-changed-his-mind). I would be interested to hear what you think of the piece.
I am not sure exactly what I think of the GMO issue, but I DEFINITELY believe that GMOs should be required to be labeled by law, so that people can choose for themselves whether or not they choose to consume them! Thank you for the PDF.
I also read about that activist in Macleans. Although I also have doubts about long term effects of GMOs, I’m not sure if they are truely as EVIL as they are made out to be. I did find it interesting in the article I read that there are other processes being used to modify our food that are not getting the publicity that GMOs have yet certainly sound far more dangerous. I am not a scientist nor have I done extensive research myself which is why grow a HUGE garden each year and grow heirloom varieties. Organic means NOTHING to me and shouldn’t to anyone else. There are a lot of organic growers locally and I have seen too much to blindly believe that organic is better. Whenever possible buy local and actually get to know the grower.
Thanks for the pdf. As a beekeeper and organic gardener I am worried about the long term ( and not so long term!) effects of GMOs.
Thanks for starting a dialogue on this issue.
I thought that the issue with GMO foods is the lack of genetic diversity, and the fact that farmers have to buy seeds every year because GMO foods do not produce viable seeds that can be saved and replanted. Also, Monsanto has sued and bankrupted a lot of small farmers because some of the GMO seeds were carried by the wind onto the farmers’ fields and grew up into crops. As far as I know, there aren’t any health risks in eating GMO foods. The damage they do is economic and ecological.
Rose that is a large part of the problem and it is part of why I choose not to buy GMO any longer. BUT there are more and more scientists that have been concerned with the health risks as well. The truth is that it has not been proven that there is no health risks.
I would share this link as well http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/understanding-gmo/?gclid=CPuz8N20k7UCFUid4AodeTUAmw this is from a geneticist who is also concerned about the wide range of issues that GMO brings with it.
Yeah, from reading the scientific journal papers on the topic, I’ve found as well that scientists don’t know yet if GMOs are harmful to consume or not. It will be interesting to see what their final conclusion is. Either way, I tend to stay away from them as a protest against the poor business practices of companies like Monsanto.
Emily Tisdale says
15 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia…two years ago I became aware of GMO crops and eliminated both them and all artificial sweetners from my diet. Today I am free from pain. I don’t know which one or if it is both that were responsible…but I know I am GMO free and avoiding all artificial ingredients.