STANLEY T. BOULDEN HEALTH AND WELLNESS COORDINATOR
Genetically Modified Organisms, also known as GMO foods, are plants and animals that have been genetically modified to be more resistant to extreme climates, pests, herbicides and pesticides. They can also be made more juicy, brighter in color, seedless, and there can even be additional nutrients added to various GMO foods.
Genetically modified animals are often given hormones that make them grow much larger, produce more milk or eggs, and grow much faster than their natural counterparts. More recently there have also been cases in which the genes of one animal were introduced into another animal, effectively creating a new species. Generally this new species is larger, more aggressive, and can survive in much more hostile conditions.
1: Corn Over half of the corn grown in the US is GMO. Has been linked to “weight gain and organ disruption” (Renter, 2012) 2: Soy About 90% of soy in the US is GMO. Modified to resist herbicides. 3: Sugar Sugar beets are often modified to resist herbicides. 4: Aspartame This is actually “created with genetically modified bacteria” (Renter, 2012), and is used as an artificial sweetener. This has been linked to many health issues and should be avoided. 5:Papayas Grown in Hawaii since 1999. These are banned in countries in the European Union. 6: Canola: “One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet”(Renter, 2012). Obtained from rapeseed.
7: Cotton Mostly found in cotton seed oil 8: Dairy More than one fifth of dairy cows in America are given growth hormones. Dairy products produced by these animals are “banned in 27 countries” (Renter, 2012), but still widely used in the US. 9: Zucchini Often genetically modified to resist viruses. 10: Yellow Squash Often genetically modified to resist viruses.
PROS Produce animals and plants faster and larger than natural grown. Gain the benefit of added nutrients. Make plants more pest resistant to help reduce the need for chemical pesticides. Produce plants and animals that are more resilient and can grow in hostile terrains. Genetically modified foods could help feed third world nations that could not normally grow crops due to climate and terrain. Possible allergic reactions Unknown effects on the human body GMO foods are often not labeled, so you usually don’t even know you are eating them. Creating new animal species can disrupt the eco-system. Cross pollination can cause future modification to the natural plant species in the area. May actually spread to weeds making them more resistant to pesticides and hard to control. CONS
There are three main government agencies set up to help protect the public and regulate the foods we eat. They are: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]: Regulates meats and poultry. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]: Regulates all foods other than meats and poultry. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]: Ensures that pesticides stay within the set standard
GMO foods have been shown to cause “damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals” (Institute for Responsible Technology, 2012). What do you think they are doing to your bodies? GMO foods are everywhere and hard to avoid. Chances are you have already eaten some GMO foods today, and you will probably eat more later without even knowing it. This could become problematic if you have an allergic reaction to something you ate that has been genetically mixed with something you are allergic to.
There are eight major food allergens that must be placed on food labels for safety purposes. These are: "(1) milk (casein), (2) peanuts, (3) tree nuts, (4) fish, (5) shellfish, (6) wheat, (7) eggs, and (8) soybeans" (Schlenker & Roth, 2011). These are all foods that may cause anaphylactic shock. So, if you are allergic to any of the above you should see this on the label of your food products in stores; but what if your food has been modified? What if something on the above list was genetically crossed with a food you normally have no problem eating. How could it affect you?
I know it seems as though GMO foods are impossible to avoid, but there are some things you can do to limit the amount of GMO foods you consume. Below are some resources that may be able to help you avoid GMO foods. http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/download.html Book Title: How to Avoid GM Food : Hundreds of Brands, Products and Ingredients to Avoid Author: Joanna Blythman
I’m not saying that all GMO foods are evil and will kill us all. There is just not enough information about what the long term effects on our bodies are. You have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself before making your decision. GMO foods last longer and are more resilient, but at what cost? What is the effect of altering something’s DNA then putting that something into our bodies. Organic foods are natural, but they tend to cost more and don’t last as long. They be bruised and damaged easier during shipping.
The fact is that GMO foods are not going away any time soon, but there are ways for you to be more in control of what you eat. Ask the restaurant that you eat at if their food is GMO. You can do research to find what brands most commonly use GMO. Although, this can be difficult as companies do not have to report the use of GMOs. Here is a brief list of brands that may commonly use GMOs: Nestle PepsiCo General Mills Coca Cola Bertoli Heinz Products Pepperidge Farms
GMO Education. (2012). In Institute for Responsible Technology. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education Renter, E. (2012). Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List. In Natural Society. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://naturalsociety.com/top-10-worst-gmo-foods-list/ Schlenker, E.D., & Roth, S.L. (2011). William’s Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy (p. 195-196). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.