Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) have been all the talk in recent news, especially with Proposition 37 that was battled for in California. If you are unfamiliar with GMO’s I can give you a little background on this man-made creation. GMO’s are generally plants or crops that have been specifically created for human and or animal consumption that have had their molecular structure/make-up biologically altered. These laboratory plants were developed to enhance desirable traits in a crop such as resistance to herbicides and increased nutritional content of something that naturally may not carry certain micro or macronutrients. Sounds like a good idea, right? Not so fast.
Traditionally, plant enhancement takes place with conventional plant breeding, which is a slower process and results can be less discernable when compared with genetically engineered plants that can be quickly and accurately replicated with a desired trait. Surprisingly, genes can be transferred from plant to plant and with genes from non-plant organisms. Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) is a bacterium that creates crystal proteins that attack and damage/break down the cells of the gut in insects and larvae. B.t. genes have been added to corn crops as a “natural” pesticide. It sounds like a freak science experiment. If this bacterium is harmful to insects, you have to question what it does to humans in any amount, right?!
Reasons why companies are in support of GMO’s and the biotechnology industry:
-Drought tolerance/salinity tolerance
-Phytormediation (An example is a poplar tree that has been genetically modified to clean up heavy metals from contaminated soil.)
-Potential harm to other organisms
-Reduced effectiveness of pesticides
-Gene transfer to non-target species (i.e. superweeds…yikes!)
-Allergenicity (i.e. gene from peanut into a soybean could create new allergens in peanut allergic people.)
-Growing concern of effects on human health
-Economic concern for small farms and/or third world countries if seeds become “patented” or if they create “suicide gene technology” and seeds will be sterile after only one growing season.
I start to sweat just talking about the potential problems. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…but GMO’s scare me. Who are we to think we can play with mother nature? When you consider the reasons companies are in support of GMO’s it all leads back to less work, more product, more MONEY. Irreversible damage to our food supply, environment, and even health could result from the continued use of these man-made “foods”. Many products, especially processed products, contain some form of a GMO. The FDA considers GMO foods to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). The FDA views GMO foods to be substantially equivalent to the real whole food, so at this time they do not require companies to identify on a label when a GMO is used in a product.
There is SO MUCH to talk about when it comes to GMO’s, but I just wanted to do a brief introduction…I could go on and on all day. I’m sure you will be hearing us talk about this again soon, but in the meantime further educate yourself on what you are putting in your body. I don’t know about you, but I want to know EXACTLY what I am eating. You’d be surprised at what companies (even “natural food companies”) use some form of GMO’s in their products.
The Non GMO Project has verified non-GMO companies and products you can support…along with LOTS of great information. The Cornucopia Institute also has a wealth of information to sift through. The movie Genetic Roulette is a great movie to watch about GMO’s… be sure to check it out. If you were unaware of GMO’s before this I hope you have a chance to read more about their use. It’s so important that we make informed decisions about the food we are putting in our body and are aware of the companies we are supporting when purchasing products.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and concerns regarding GMO’s.