What to know about GMOs!
No matter your level of knowledge or opinion as it relates to Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs, I’ve found there are certain pieces of information that can’t be ignored. To remind you, GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. They are present in as much as 80 percent of conventional processed food in the U.S. Next time you are eating your favorite snack, take a look at the ingredients. If it contains corn, soy, sugar beets or canola, then you are almost positively eating GMOs since nearly 100 percent of these crops in the U.S. are GMO.
GMOs are either banned or restricted throughout many developed nations in the world including the entire European Union, Japan and Australia. In fact, the European Union ruled in favor of mandatory labeling back in 1997, only three years after the first GMO was introduced in the U.S. While the United States of America has no restrictions regarding the use or labeling of GMOs, several states are fighting for their citizens’ right to know. Vermont, Colorado and Oregon are pioneers in the U.S. petitioning for foods that contain GMOs to be labeled.
Interestingly, corporations are spending million upon millions to fight against our right to know. As an example, Pepsico has spent $8.6 million over the last three years to keep GMOs hidden in their foods that they manufacture for the U.S. I’d like to ask an executive at Pepsico why they are spending such an exorbitant amount of money to fight against labeling because I would have thought they’d be proud of the products they sell. My assumption is that they know that people will most likely chose a non GMO option if afforded the opportunity.
The two most common types of genetically modified crops on the market are Bt crops and Roundup Ready crops. Bt crops are engineered to produce the Bt toxin within the plant itself, acting as a built-in insecticide. Roundup Ready crops are engineered to be resistant to Roundup, a Monsanto brand of herbicide. The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is glyphosate, a commonly used weed-killer. Studies have been conducted to see the effect of these toxins on mothers and their unborn children. In 2011, Research found Bt toxins in the blood of pregnant women and shows evidence that the toxin is passed to fetuses. Additionally, Roundup has been found in the breast milk of mothers.
If you are interested in avoiding GMOs, buy organic or look for the NON-GMO VERIFIED label. It’s important to remember that “all natural” labeling is a marketing technique that means little. I saw a package of edamame where the only ingredient was “all natural soybeans.” All natural is so misleading. Since the product wasn’t organic or non-GMO certified and because almost 100 percent of our soy crop is GMO, it’s very likely the edamame was GMO, despite the claim of being all natural.
Through my research, I was surprised to learn that there was an attempt at creating a genetically engineered variety of pig called “Enrviropig” that failed in 2012. Additionally, there is a current proposal at the FDA for a genetically engineered variety of salmon. GMOs are here and may only be growing in use. Let’s all get educated so we can chose what is right for our individual family! I’m looking forward to providing you with alternatives to the traditional and popular GMO containing snacks for children in my next column.
Samantha Adams lives in Jackson, with her husband, Greg, and her two sons, Gavin and Jackson. She works full time in medical sales and is working passionately to help to educate our community as it relates to our health and wellness.