July 20, 2021
The Truth Surrounding Non-GMO
Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs are more common in food and businesses these days, but what are they and what are the implications for health? A GMO is any organism where its genetic material has been altered by engineering to favor desired features such as size.
Here's why you need to read the labels on things you buy and understand the importance of non-GMO products.
What are GMOs, and Where Are They?
GMOs have infiltrated many sectors of the food chain from meat to crops. Although it has long been common practice in farming to select animals and crops with specific features to produce better food, a genetically modified approach is very different. GMO products are made using genomes from similar and sometimes unrelated species to produce a specimen with favored traits such as bigger animals or larger produce. While this may increase food production, there are concerns as to the implications of what else this technology might be used for in the future beyond food.
How to Tell if a Product Contains GMO
With all the labels on food products, it's hard to identify something containing a GMO. GMO foods must have a label stating they are genetically modified products. Usually, this is listed next to the food label. If you want to avoid using GMOs, how can you really tell what does and does not contain modifications? First, buy products that are 100% organic. In the USA, GMO products are not allowed in organic produce. Look for packaging that states the product is Non-GMO Project Verified. This label certifies that there are no GMOs within the food or item itself. An example is True Lemon, which is GMO-free.
Potential Health and Environmental Hazards of GMOs
GMO technology is relatively new, so some effects of using these products will not be known for years. Early research has shown there are toxic effects on body organs including the liver and renal system. Allergic reactions are significantly higher when using GMO products. It is believed this is because unauthorized GMOs have been introduced into the food chain. The same study believes there may be opportunities to reduce allergic reactions from GMOs but for now, they are a risk.
Some GMO products are designed to be more insect resistant which means that if insects try to eat the crops they could die. While this has benefits for crop production there are implications for wildlife and ecology generally. Insects and especially bees have a vital role in pollination, so stopping them from eating specific plants could be harmful to the wider ecosystem.
Genetically modified food has also been found to have a lower nutritional value than organic. Genetic engineering with GMOs may prolong lifespan and reduce pests but it also reduces the nutritional content. A study on soybeans found that organic varieties had a higher mineral and protein value than their GMO counterparts.
Environmental concerns about GMO products are large. GMO plants can cross-fertilize with organic plants in neighboring farms causing issues with crop production and contaminating it. Checking labels to ensure they are GMO-free as well as organic is vital when buying food. The long-term effects of GMO products are unknown so care needs to be taken when introducing them into the food chain.
Why Being Non-GMO is Important
Staying as healthy as possible and ensuring your family gets nutritional food is vital to preventing illnesses and helping children grow and develop. A diet rich in vitamins and fresh food boosts immunity and promotes health. GMO products are increasingly common and have a lower nutritional value and can cause toxicity within the body. Their impact on the environment threatens to destabilize the insect population vital for pollination. Saying no to GMOs is a positive step in creating a world that protects nature and promotes health by being as natural as possible. Look out for the No GMO signs on food to be sure you have a natural product that is beneficial to you and your family.