The great GMO debacle. If you are in the health food industry you are probably aware, educated and well beyond frustrated with the topic. But what if you aren’t? Are the rest of us educated, aware or even familiar with this surge of GMO foods and how they affect our everyday lives?
I was in the kitchen with my dad the other day and the question of dinner came up. I decided to take a look through the pantry and the fridge. “Dad! Don’t you know what is in this stuff? This isn’t even food! It is all just GMO’s." No name brand canned soups, generic wheat bread, giant boxes of cereal, packaged turkey bacon. The list goes on.
At first I was astounded, how could he think this stuff is the healthier choice? Then, when he replied it hit me. he chuckled and said “I thought this was healthy? Do I dare ask what a GMO is? They say this is good for us.” There it was!…THEY! The marketing, the media, the reports. In society we are flooded with information that help sway us to make choices that THEY want us to make. My dad didn’t even know what a GMO was. I could no longer hold him accountable for the choices he had made. This also meant that he wasn’t the only confused one out there. So, guess what folks, there is a war happening out there. Hear are some truths to help you choose: GMO’s or NO GMO’s.
What is a GMO food? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This is a process where scientist combine the DNA of one or more organism to obtain a specific genetic feature. This process actually stems from our ancestors. Over 10 000 years ago man would transform un-appetizing foods into eatable food for survival. They did this by selectively breeding plants. This is a slow, natural transformation that mimics evolution. Now, with speed and precision scientist can go right into the plant and snip out its DNA and transplant it into plants and animals.
For example, a natural antifreeze protein was taken from fish and inserted into tomatoes. Why they say its good...... Genetically modifying foods promises us that farmers will gain a great crop yield and lower costs in general. That is what they say but are these goals really being achieved? Lets take a look at the myths and by examining the truths.
Truths...... Genetically modified foods have infiltrated about 90% of US crops. Almost all corn, soy, sugar beets and cotton in the world are genetically modified. These foods also happen to be some of the most widely used foods in food production. They can be camouflaged in soda, juice, breakfast cereal, canned meats, bacon and even milk. Genetically modifying food is not the same as naturally breeding plants. The lab based technique is uncontrolled and has been proven to damage the plant’s genetic make up. This leads to mutations, alterations to a plants nutritional value, poor crop performance, unforeseen harm to the environment and people enduring toxic and allergenic effects.
Since the proliferation of GMO crops, there has actually been an increases in herbicide and pesticide use. Since nature adapts, plants become resistant to these herbicides and pesticides and therefore an increased use of stronger chemicals is needed. This explains why the allowed limit for Round Up (the top weed killer) in crops has increased over the years. The European Union claims round up to be a danger to the environment. Yet, round up has been dubbed safe by the leading producer of genetically modified seeds.
The truth is that round up actually kills nutrients and organisms in the soil that it is used. These nutrients and organisms are key in natural biodiversity and preventing plant disease. Also, Round Up will easily find its way into air, water, rain, and soil. This has had a serious impact on our wildlife and non-pest insect populations.
GM crops greatly contribute to the global energy crises. For one, it takes a tremendous amount of fossil fuels to produce the pesticides and herbicides that they use. For another, GMO's rely specifically on nitrogen fertilizer which omits green house gases.
In the US, there are no mandatory safety assessments for the process of selling GMO’s. Over 50 countries all over the world have strict GMO crop restrictions and labeling laws. Some European countries have gone as far as making the use of GMO crops illegal. Canada and the US have yet to join them.
Asking yourself now that we have debunked claims that they have made. It is important to ask yourself if GMO crops deserve to be supported. Are you benefiting from them or are you paying a greater price for you and your future? Even though the debate is far from over, you as a consumer have the right to make a choice. Will you support GMO crops or will you reclaim your choice for truly healthy food that is sustainable and naturally grown.