What are GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms? GMOs are organisms that have had their DNA manipulated in a laboratory instead of crossbreeding or natural selection (crossbreeding by Mother Nature). Specifically, a portion of the organisms DNA has been removed and the DNA of another organism has been added.
Why were GMOs first created? Genetically Modified Organisms were first created in the 1970s. The main reason for the majority of GMOs has actually been for good reasons: to reduce a plant or animal’s susceptibility to pests, weeds, viruses or severe drought.
Bioethics – At what point does manipulating one organism’s genes with another cross the line? (What stops science from doing this for inappropriate reasons or with human genes?) Lack of long-term research – There is zero data available on the impact long-term consumption of genetically modified organisms has on humans. The pro-GMO movement likes to say there’s no evidence to speak to the contrary and that GMO foods are safe. But, the fact is, there’s simply not enough information.Why are GMOs a concern? Genetically Modified Organisms are a serious for several reasons:
- Health concerns starting to arise in GMO-fed animals – GMO-fed rats have been shown to produce smaller litters at smaller weights and develop kidney problems and large tumors.1 GMO-fed pigs and dairy cows have seen an increase in major digestive and reproductive problems like stomach ulcers and aborted pregnancies. Most recently, a study on GMO-fed pigs has shown a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation in addition to other anecdotal behavior concerns.
- Environmental Impact – One of the most popular GMO products on the market is called Roundup Ready Soybean or Corn. The name implies what the benefit of this GMO crop is: so farmers canspray Roundup over the entire field of corn or soybean plants. The Roundup will kill everything in its path except the GMO-corn or soybean plants. Great for the farmer, not so great for the soil or beneficial insects. Several studies have shown negative impacts GMO-crops have on the biodiversity of the soil and nutrient absorption of the plant. There is also looming concern of Roundup resistant “super weeds” and pests.
Why are GMO-fed animal studies important? The digestive system of a pig is actually very similar to a human’s digestive tract so, often times the results of animal studies can be correlated to what one might expect to see in a human study. Animal studies are the early indicators of a food safety concern.
Where are GMOs most commonly found? Genetically Modified Organisms are primarily found in large field crops like cotton, soybeans and corn. Most of these crops are used for animal feed or fuel but a large amount also ends up in the food supply. For a complete list of GMO-crops, click here >
How can I ensure I don’t consume GMO products? Bottom line; only buy food that is labeled USDA Certified Organic or NON-GMO Project Verified. If it is not labeled with either two of these seals and the food includes corn, wheat, canola oil or other common GMO-ingredients, there is a good likelihood the food contains GMOs.
What are other countries saying about GMO products? Quite simply, many countries have banned GMO crops. Australia, Japan, the European Union and Peru are a few that have denounced GMOs and banned the used of crops with genetically modified organisms.