Proponents of GMO foods claim they will solve the looming world food crisis. Others believe that GMO itself is the looming food crisis. With the FDA approving fruits that don’t brown or bruise as safe to eat, can you really rely on the fact that what you are eating is even food?
What is GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. A food contains GMO when it contains an organic ingredient—often a plant—that has been modified at the genetic level through genetic engineering. The bulk of GMO work as it pertains to crops involves production of or tolerance to insecticide and herbicide applications. The purpose of these modifications is to increase crop yields, but a number of reports from GMO activists and third-party interests note that the modifications don’t deliver on industry promises such as additional nutritional benefits or drought tolerance.
Risks of GMO
What a growing number of reports and anecdotal evidence collections does indicate is that GMO foods are a health risk. In fact, GMO foods are risky enough that they are banned or severely restricted in 60 countries across the globe—the United States is one of the very few developed nations with a government that not only doesn’t restrict GMOs, but seems to support big GMO companies.
In several experiments, rats were fed GMO food products such as tomatoes, potatoes, and corn. The experiments resulted in rats with health problems such as possible kidney and liver disease, bleeding stomachs, and inhibited development of organs such as the brain, intestines, and liver. Farmers have reported that livestock fed on GMO grain became sterile, and Roundup Ready soy has been shown to cause cell changes in animals. Even GMO products that aren’t meant for consumption, such as cotton, have been linked to human allergies and livestock deaths.
While GMO may have become a common household word in the last few years, genetically modified products have been around for decades. As early as the 1980s, a GMO supplement was responsible for thousands of illnesses and approximately 100 human deaths.
Getting Around GMO
To protect yourself and your family from GMOs, the first thing you should do is pay attention to labels. Food that is labeled “all natural” is not necessarily GMO free. Food that carries an organic label may even have some problems, so do your research to find foods and brands that are certified USDA organic. You can also look for nonorganic foods that specify on their labels and ingredients lists that they are GMO free.
As big agriculture lobbies legislatures, it may become even harder to find non-GMO product. When you can, the product may be pricier than the GMO brands. One way to reduce the impact of this crisis is to grow your own food through sustainable gardening and farming. Even then, you have to watch out for GMO seeds.
For more information on surviving a food crisis, check outTheFoodCrisis.org