How to avoid consuming GMO’s
One way to avoid GMO’s is by purchasing products that have Non-GMO Project label or a USDA organic label, since USDA organic labelled foods are automatically non-GMO. Another way of avoiding GMO’s is being aware of which plants are currently in production have been genetically modified (1).
What has been genetically modified
In 1996 genetically modified soy, cotton, and corn were put into production. The USDA estimated in 2011 that 94% of soy grown in the United States was genetically modified, as well as 90% of cotton and 88% of corn. In 1998 genetically modified papaya was first put on the US market. The New York Times estimated that 80% of the papaya grown in the United States was genetically modified. In 1995 alfalfa and sugar beets, which are primarily used to make processed sugar, were put into production. The genetically modified alfalfa is primarily used as cattle feed. The USDA estimated 95% of sugar beets grown in the US in 2009 were genetically modified. 90% of canola is genetically modified. Genetically modified zucchini is also being sold, but a percentage was not available.
Tomatoes and potatoes have been genetically modified, but are no longer commercially produced. Potatoes were in production from 1994-1997 and tomatoes from 1994-1997. Potatoes were taken off the market after consumers rejected the notion of using GMO potatoes in McDonalds french fries. Tomatoes were taken off the market due to issues with poor durability (2, 3).
PROS AND CONS OF GMOS (4-7)
- Insect resistance
- Potentially produce higher yields
- They are more economical
- Improved food quality
- GMOs withstand extreme weather
- Can contain higher nutrient content
- Benefits the farmers and corporations
- Trigger allergies
- Lower level of biodiversity
- Can be toxic to beneficial insects
- Emergence of new diseases
- Unexpected health side effects
- It is not a requirement for GMO’s to be labeled in the USA
- Over-use of herbicides
- Effects on non-GMO crops
Although GMOs seem to have some pros, there are many health risks associated with them. GMOs may cause allergic reactions. According to the USDA, 94% of soy grown in the USA was genetically modified in the year 2011, causing soy allergies to skyrocket by 50%. Besides allergies, liver and reproductive problems, infant mortality, sterility, sicknesses, and deaths are common and linked to GMO consumption (8).
Top 10 GMO foods (9)
- Sugar beets
- Canola oil
- Yellow squash
Are GMOs safe
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S. the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted. Although many Americans want to know if the food they buy contains GMOs, the food is not labeled in the US. GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food in the US (10, 11).
- Bocco, Diana. "What Are the Pros and Cons of Genetically Engineered Food?"
- Wisegeek. June 9, 2015. http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-genetically-engineered-food.htm.
- Caldwell, Maggie. "5 Surprising Genetically Modified Foods." Mother Jones. August 5, 2013.
- Duvauchelle, Joshua. "Pros & Cons of GMO Foods." Livestrong. January 13, 2013. http://www.livestrong.com/article/213053-pros-cons-of-gmo-foods/.
- Murnaghan, Ian. "Http://www.geneticallymodifiedfoods.co.uk/fact-sheet-pros-vs-cons.html." Genetically Modified Foods. July 10, 2015. http://www.geneticallymodifiedfoods.co.uk/fact-sheet-pros-vs-cons.html.
- Renter, Elizabeth. "Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List." Natural Society. July 28, 2012.
- "9 GMO Ingredients to Avoid." Green America. http://action.greenamerica.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7608&tag=adwords&gclid=CIOpoonG8cUCFYNDaQodtYoAAA.
- "GMO Health Risks." December 10, 2010. http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/gmo/gmo_1012100340.html.
- "What Is GMO?" The NonGMO Project RSS. Accessed July 13, 2015.
- "Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Foods." Health Research Funding. December 4, 2013. http://healthresearchfunding.org/pros-cons-genetically-modified-foods/.
- "The Shocking Difference Between Organic & Non-GMO Labels - It's Huge!" Food Babe. February 26, 2015.