It appears everywhere you look there are GM products lurking. Genetically modified foods, also known as genetically engineered foods, bioengineered foods, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), are foods, which refers to plants, animals or other organisms, whose genetic makeup (DNA) has been altered or modified, via genetic engineering, in a way that does not occur naturally.
Seventy percent of packaged food contains GMOs. While there is continuous controversy on whether GMO products are safe for consumption, you should try and reach for more natural alternatives, like fresh produce, when possible.
However, it is becoming increasingly hard to avoid GM foods completely. Ninety percent of the sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton and corn in North America have been genetically modified and those crops are used to produce many of our packaged foods. Ketchup, cooking oil, baking extracts, brown sugar, soy sauce, frozen yogurt, peanut butter, pasta and even chewing gum (to name a few), could have GMOs. Even animal feed could be a source of GMOs! That means foods like milk, cheese, eggs, meat and farmed fish could contain genetically modified organisms.
According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, “Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile and dead livestock and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.”
The environmental consequences of GMOs? Pesticides! There are 6 major companies who heavily use pesticides. Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow ArgoSciences, BASF, Bayer and Pioneer (DuPont). Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, are genetically engineered to be immune to herbicide so that farmers can destroy weeds without killing their cash crops. However, the process has produced Roundup resistant weeds, leading farmers to apply greater doses of the chemical or even resort to more toxic methods to fight superweeds. Superweeds and superbugs, can only be killed with more toxic poisons such as 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).
For now, the long-term impacts of the GMOs are unknown. However, once released into the environment, these altered organisms cannot be recalled.
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