GMO Labeling- Should You Care?
Most people hear the word genetically modified and think what’s the big deal? Isn’t that just a fancy term for describing the manipulation of plant DNA to make a new version? Genetically modified does mean that scientists controlled the pollination of certain plants to create new hybrids. Hopefully to create a better versions of some foods, i.e. sweeter tomatoes, more hardy plants, etc. The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This is different. Instead of just manipulating plant DNA, scientist inserted virus and bacteria DNA into the plant DNA. According to federal regulations, this alters the new plant so significantly that it is reclassified as an animal and not plant form. How safe it is to eat these foods remains unclear. A 2013 review of 1,763 GMO studies found no clear evidence of toxic or harmful effects. But other studies have shown a transferring of the DNA from GMO foods with human DNA in the gut. The long term consequences are unknown at this time.
Sixty-one countries, including most of Europe require food to be labeled for GMO content. The United States and Canada do not. You may think that you don’t eat GMO foods, but you would be wrong. Sixty to eighty percent of packaged foods in your supermarket contain ingredients derived from genetically modified crops. Even eighty percent of foods labeled “natural” were shown to contain at least one GMO ingedient by one study. The three largest crops that have been genetically modified with virus/bacteria DNA include soybean (oil), beet (sugar), and corn. If you want to avoid GMO until there is a better understanding of the long-term health consequences buy certified organic as these foods are regulated to not contain GMO.