How to Know if Your Food is Genetically Modified

An estimated 60 to 70 percent of all foods on most supermarket shelves today contain genetically modified ingredients. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by the time you read this, 85 percent of the soybeans planted in the United States and up to 45 percent of the corn will be genetically engineered. It was been estimated that 70-75 percent of processed foods found on supermarket shelves including soda, soup, crackers, condiments, baby food, pancakes, candy bars, and condiments contain GM ingredients. That means if you are eating foods that contain vegetable oil, soy products like soy burgers, or any foods that are made with cornstarch, corn syrup, corn oil, or soy derivatives, there is a great chance that you are putting food that’s been genetically altered into your body.

The scary thing is that there’s no way to know for sure. The government has not implemented a regulations system that would require producers of GM food to tell consumers that a food has been genetically altered or that it contains GM ingredients. What’s more, under current law biotech companies don’t have to inform the FDA or perform human testing before introducing a new genetically engineered food product. As a result, GM foods are flooding the marketplaces and millions of unsuspecting consumers are buying and consuming unlabeled GMO foods. Don’t be one of them! See below for tips on how to avoid eating GM foods.

How are foods ‘genetically modified’?

Genes can be likened to blueprints for each organism. Due to major advances in technology, scientists are now able to select genetic material from organisms such as plants, animals, or even microbes, and insert it into the genetic code of another. For example, a gene found in flounder that enables them to survive in cold water was transplanted into tomatoes so that they would become resistant to frost. Genes from soil bacterium are transferred into foods such as corn and canola so that they repel insects. Other examples of our tampering with Mother Nature include Potatoes that contain bacteria genes, “super” pigs with human growthgenes, fish with cattle growthgenes, and thousands of other animals, plants and insects.

These genetically altered creations are then being patented and then released into the marketplace without having any idea about what the long term effects will have on the environment, ourselves, and our children. Several studies over the last decade reveal that GMO can pose very serious health risks to humans, domesticated animals, our wildlife and the environment. The effects on a human can include great risks of toxicity, resistance to antibiotics, suppression of the immune system, and even cancer. The impact on the environment as a result of using GMO’s in agriculture could lead to contamination of non-genetically modified life forms and biological pollution which could completely through off Nature’s delicate balance.

The bottom line is We need dozens of years of research before we start tampering with DNA because we don’t know what’s going to happen. How much do we know about genetics, anyway’? DNA has just discovered fifty years ago. We need to seriously contemplate the implications of what tampering with Mother Nature could cost us. We could be destroying elements in our ecosystem permanently by introducing untested foods and organisms. One of the most powerful way to do that is to NOT support GM products. Here are some tips on how to avoid these products.

Here’s what you should look for:

Look for the stickers stuck in your fruits and veggies:

A four digit number means that it’s conventionally grown. A five digit number starting nine means it’s organic. A five digit number starting with eight means it’s GM.
The Organic Food Production Act stipulates that food labeled organic cannot contain any GMO. Buy local. Shop at farmers’ markets where you can buy direct from local growers. Ask them how they treat their crops. Stop eating processed foods. Many processed foods include derivatives of corn, soy, and canola, which more than likely come from genetically modified plants. Buy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, sprouts, and grasses instead.

Read Food Labels

If ingredients come from corn, soy, or canola, put the food back on the shelf. Look for labels on foods that say, “This product does not contain any GMO.”

Get Involved

Demand that proper labeling for foods be required so people know what they are putting in their bodies. The following foods listed below are currently being tested in the biotech industry in field trials in an attempt to create gene-altered varieties.

  • Fruits: Apples, Cranberries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Melons, Papayas, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapples, Plums, and Strawberries.
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, mustard, olives, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, squash, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, watercress
  • Dry Foods: Barley, beans, soybeans, coffee, lentils, oats, popcorn, rice, sugar, and wheat and Seeds: Flax, peanuts, sunflowers, walnuts. Remember: Say NO to GMOs!

Genetically Modified Food Facts and Statistics

This issue on GMOs is a growing controversy. Are they to be labeled so that people are aware if the products they are consuming has ingredients that are genetically modified? These foods are found all across the country in the US, and although Americans have been consuming GMOs for over 15 years, there has been no real evidence that they are harmful, some people believe that “no evidence doesn’t mean that they are safe”.

GMO Consumption

Here are some facts on the consumption of GMO Food:

  • According to reports from Consumer Reports National Research Center, 92% of Americans know that GMO products are all over kitchens in the Country. They also know that a lot of packaged foods contain GMOs.
  • In 2013, consumption of GMO products decreased as the consumption of products that were known to be organic or at least carried a ‘NON-GMO Project Verified’ tag was increased by 80%.
  • 90% of soy, canola, cotton, and corn sold in the US have been modified.
  • The total acreage of GMO Crops increased from 67.7 million hectares to 179.7 million hectares from 2003 to 2015 worldwide.

Effects on Health

GM Foods have been available for consumption for a long time now. There has actually been no harmful evidence of their consumption; some choose to believe they are harmful. According to Robert Gould, president of Board of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the argument that GMO is not harmful cannot be based on short term studies to estimate the long term effect.

According to a joint commission of WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, The process of genetically modifying crops cause nutritional changes in food through the introduction of toxins and entirely new allergens.

According to research carried out on animals that are used to access the health risks of humans, genetic modification of food might damage the immune system, the kidney, and liver.

Facts on the environmental effects of production:

80% of Genetically Modified Crops worldwide tolerate herbicides. This has increased the use of herbicides (e.g. Roundup) by 15 times since the introduction of GMOs. This also brought about the emergence of ‘super bugs’ and ‘super weeds’ that have evolved and can only be killed with the use of more toxic poisons like the 2,4-D.

Studies according to a group of 70 doctors, scientists other professionals have linked increased non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, birth defects, infertility and other reproductive issues in humans to exposure to the herbicides.

Other random facts/statistics:

Here are some other random facts and statistics:

  • Monsanto, a giant monopoly genetically engineering company solely produces about 90% of foods with GMO that’s consumed worldwide. Thy also sell GMO seeds to farmers
  • The US produces majority, about 2/3 of the world’s genetically modified crops.
  • These crops have been banned in European countries like France, Germany, Greece, Austria on some levels, and any country looking to export GMO foods to those countries must label them.

These are some of the available data, and has shown that the fight for and against GMOs is not likely to end so soon.

Why Do We Have GMOs in Our Food?

Genetically Modified Organism, or GMO, is the process of genetically altering an animal, plant, organisms, or microorganisms to come up with an altered breed of two different species to come up with a new one, unlike natural cross-breeding which uses different genes of the same species.

This process is made through different procedures such as injecting the DNA of one specimen to another, feeding animals with GMO-induced feeds, or even cloning. It was made to genetically modify proteins in a food product to be induced in our body.

The most common food products with GMOs include:

  • Corn
  • Tomato
  • Papaya
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Sugar beet
  • Animal products

According to a Genome scientist at the University of Washington Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, since these genes are totally foreign, this can pose a dangerous DNA protein combination in our food and this could lead to serious illnesses.

If this is the case, then why do we have GMOs in our food and why are they highly available in the market?

Benefits of GMO

Genetically modified products are still available all over the market because it has undeniable benefits especially to farmers.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, GMO have the following benefits to our food products:

  • Acts as pesticide by keeping away harmful pests and weeds
  • Increased crop production in a shorter amount of time
  • More harvest in a small farm land
  • Longer shelf life for crops and prevents them from rotting right away
  • Better texture and flavor to crops
  • More nutritional value
  • Animals have higher resistance to diseases
  • Cows and chickens produce better milk and eggs

The benefits of genetically modified food products are more inclined to the producers; not the consumers.

Is this merely about the profit?

Is GMO Profit-Driven?

We’d like to think that it’s more of sustainability rather than profit-driven.

The production and distribution of food has been a huge problem globally. With these benefits – more production and longer shelf life – food can be distributed and exported all over the world to sustain the basic needs of not only the natives, but other people who is in need of proper meal and nutrients.

Risks of GMO

It is not clear on what exactly are the risks of GMO in our body. But that fact that the food we eat has been genetically altered, this might give a negative effect towards our DNA, too. Our bodies absorb the proteins and nutrients that we get from our food, and if these nutrients are not of the same DNA construction as it originally should be, it might have the same ‘deconstruction’ effect towards our own DNA.

In a study entitled “The Debate on Labeling Genetically Modified Foods” by Phil Damery of the Iowa State University, there is no assurance that GMO products can do no harm in our body. Further, it stated that although products are carefully studied and tested, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration merely base their certification or verification of GMO products through the conclusions made by the agricultural companies and not on the type of tests and its procedures.

Organic & GMO-Free

Many movements (such as Non GMO Project) have been very active in promoting GMO-free foods. The best advice here is to always check the label.

Although it’s not a fool-proof way of determining whether the food is safe or not, but it’s the best ally we have in choosing the food to buy.

If it’s not as convincing, the best option then is to grow a garden of our own so we can properly monitor its growth and that we get them fresh in our backyards.

5 Interesting Facts About GMO Foods

Whether you know it or not, there is a chance that you are eating GMO food every day. According to the grocery manufacturer’s association, 70 to 80 percent of the food we eat contains genetically modified ingredients or organisms, created by merging DNA from different species to create a plant, animal or organism that cannot be produced naturally through cross breeding. GMO foods are typically engineered to resist adverse growing conditions, last longer on the shelf and taste better. The process also increases yield, which translates to vast economic gains for farmers, but what about the consumers? Short-term animal findings suggest negative impacts on multiple organs. As if that is not bad enough, long term studies on the effect of GM food on human health are yet to be conducted.

Here are the top 5 interesting facts about GMOs you need to know:

1. GMO regulations are abysmally inadequate

Since the early 90s when these kinds of foods began flooding the US market, the need for field testing in the United States has soared to unprecedented levels. Despite this, the USDA has been loosely enforcing non-stringent rules for biotech companies engaged in test planting. The most shocking fact is that there are only 130 GMO inspectors spread across all 50 states. As a result, thousands of safety breaches have occurred, with the offending companies getting away with a small fine or a warning.

2. Labeling is being suppressed

As the public becomes more interested in knowing the danger of consuming GM foods, the megalithic biotech corporations and their lobbies who are keen to keep them on the market have been successfully buying off politicians. They do not want consumers to make informed choices so they are keen to suppressed attempts to institute laws that require labeling of GMO products. You have more to worry about; the labeling suppressing campaign is being carried out by giant companies that have enormous influence on the market. These include:

  • Coca Cola
  • Pepsi
  • Monsanto
  • General Mills
  • Nestle

It is these companies that produce the highest amounts of process foods you are most likely to buy.

3. It is not limited to plants

Plants are what come to the mind when people think of GMO, but animals are also being modified. For instance, the bovine growth hormone given to cows to increase yields is actually a product of genetic modification. Another example is the Aqua Advantage salmon that has been altered to grow bigger. Since genetic modification is an imprecise science, the properties of the animals can change in unforeseen ways to cause health and environmental problems.

4. The genetic effect is still unknown

Biotech companies spend lots of resources researching the effects of introducing foreign genes to crops; very little research has been conducted on the genetic effects on humans. The effect that widespread consumption will have on the human race is still unknown.

5. Genetic modification does not necessarily lead to larger harvests

It turns out that GMO crop yields are not as promising as some projections implied. In some instanced, they have been out -yielded by their non-GMO counterparts. This negates one of the main arguments in favor of GMOs.

The bottom-line is that while GMO foods may taste better, they are not natural and are yet to be proven to be safe. It is important to labels to be used to inform consumers that what they are purchasing has been genetically modified.

How Does Genetically Modified Food Affect The Human Body?

Genetically Modified Food are foods that are produced when the DNA of crops are altered or changed. The main purpose of doing this is to bring out a whole new trait in the plant, and to make the crop perform better. This new traits they show don’t normally occur in their species. GM Foods are also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This act is so frequently done that modified foods are a huge percentage of what we eat. Perfect examples are corn and soy. Over 85% of corn and soy grown in the United States comes from seeds that have been engineered. But are these modified foods affecting our bodies in any way? This article will enlighten you.

GMO Carrots

No one actually knows for sure what these foods do to our body, but some people believe that its long lasting effects are becoming evident. Some scientists have already predicted that GM foods available all across the United State are part of the main causes of today’s epidemics like obesity, Cancer, Diabetes, and allergies. Not saying that these are the actual cause of these conditions, but their approval coincides with the sudden rise of those conditions. Others believe that this is the new best solution to world hunger, as more crops are efficiently grown under very less ideal circumstances.

Which of the foods you eat are modified genetically?

  • Soybeans – Up to 93% in the United States
  • Corn – About 85% of corn available in the United State are GMO, and this also affects their products.
  • Cotton – About 93%
  • About 70-90% of processed foods found in grocery stores.
  • Livestock feeds are also GMO and this affects their products as well e.g. milk, meat etc.

How then do these foods affect our body?

Both WHO and FDA declared that GMO foods are safe for consumption. The only problem is that they base their conclusion on some safety assessments, which these foods have passed. Assessments like:

  • Acute Toxicity
  • Allergic reactions
  • Stability of the gene inserted etc.

These assessments are short time based, and you would ask what will happen if you consume these foods over a longer period. Studies on this are only 90 days long which is surely not enough time to tell the long term effects of these foods.

Should these foods be labeled or not?

Countries like Brazil, China and most European countries have declared that these foods should be marked. Consumers want to be sure of what they are having amidst the fear of the dangers. The United State Senate passed a bill on labeling them on July 2016. This would allow people to really know if what they are eating is GMO or not.

GMO’s have proven to be the most effective in the modern fast-paced life. However, if you are very concerned with how they affect your body, you can choose to exclude them from your diet completely and go organic. The choice is yours.