Genetically Modified Foods: What You Need to Know
Genetically Modified (GM) foods are the result of gene technology, collaborating with modern agriculture, to produce what is perceived as a hardier plant. These plants typically have altered DNA that is combined with DNA from viruses, bacteria, and other organisms in order to make the plant more disease, drought, and pest resistant. Many producers will argue that gene modification improves food crops. However, several animal studies have linked GM foods to disruption in the immune system, increase in allergies, damage to internal organs, changes in metabolism, and increase in oxidative stress. Oxidative damage is especially dangerous because it affects so many systems in the body.
Long-term studies on the safety of human consumption of GM foods have not been conducted. We have been eating GM foods for only about 20 years, and it has only been in the last 10 years that the rate of consumption has increased due to advances in gene technology. Have you ever wondered why there are so many more people in recent years with significant allergies, food sensitivities, neurologic conditions, ADD, etc? GM foods may be (at least partially) to blame! Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the long-term effect of eating these kinds of foods until it is studied in more depth.
To keep your family safe from GMO foods, here are some tips:
1. Buy Organic:Any food labels that say organic on them cannot, by virtue of being organic, contain any GM foods. This is will be true for produce, as well as meats and dairy. Considering that soy is often a GM food crop, make sure to always buy organic soy, tofu, non-dairy alternatives, and any other soy-based products.
2. Look for GMO-Free Labels:Look on the food label to see if it says whether it’s GMO free or not.
One organization helping with food labeling is the Non GMO Project (www.nongmoproject.org). They verify individual food, health, and beauty products so that you know it is GMO free. Look for their label.
3. Avoid Common GM Foods:Some common GM food crops are corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. These foods need to be purchased organically.One major problem is that many of these foods are used as ingredients in other foods, such as the oil used in a bag of pita chips, or the sugar to flavor a chocolate bar. It is very important to read labels and look for both organic and GMO-free labeling to make sure these altered food products are not in the foods that you are consuming.
4. Use a Shoppers Guide:One of the best available shopping guides is the Non GMO Shopping Guide. To download this shopping guide, please click here Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf. This will give you a list of verified products including condiments, food items, health, beauty, and hygiene products.
20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods. n.d.World Health Organization Website. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/
Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
Non-GMO Shoppers Guide. n.d. NonGMOProject.org www.nongmoshoppingguide.com