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Are GMOs Safe?

Should You Say No to GMO?

Confused about the whole GMO topic? Here are some answers to your burning questions.

What Exactly Is GMO?

GMO stands for "genetically modified organism," and it can refer to a plant, animal, or microorganism that has been genetically changed in a lab through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). Different species are crossed to produce animals and plants not found in nature, so they take on new traits meant to make them grow faster, resist insects and weed killers, and stay fresh longer. Insect-protected cotton and herbicide-tolerant soybeans are two examples.

GMO foods are different than those that are cross-bred. Crossbreeding has been going on for centuries by farmers and by nature, to produce a stronger plant. Plants that are cross-bred are within the same species, or between closely related species. With GMO foods, on the other hand, bioengineers splice specific genes into the DNA of a dissimilar species, disrupting its natural sequence, and creating a new species that has never existed before.

Are GMOs Safe?

About 80 percent of processed foods in the US contain genetically modified ingredients including corn, soy, sugar beets, and canola, so of course people are asking whether GMOs are safe. Aside from nutrients being altered that may make these foods less nutritious, it may also introduce harmful substances, and since little human testing has been done, the long-term health effects of GMOs are unknown. It's worth noting that 64 countries around the world including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union have strict restrictions or bans against GMOs, while the US doesn't even have set rules about labeling them on products. These countries won't even accept imported products from the US such as wheat if they are known to be genetically modified.

Keep reading to learn about Monsanto and how to find foods that are non-GMO.

Who Is Monsanto?

It's hard not to mention GMO without hearing the name Monsanto. This company is a lead producer in genetically modified seeds as well as the herbicide glyphosate, marketed under the Roundup weed-killer brand. It's pretty clever to create seeds (called Roundup Ready) that are resistant to this herbicide they've also created, which makes killing weeds a breeze, and yields better, bigger crops. The Environmental Protection Agency has found exposure to glyphosate to cause congestion of the lungs, increased breathing rate, kidney damage, and reproductive issues. Many farms use Monsanto's products, and that's why so many foods contain GMOs.

You might also find it interesting to know that Monsanto developed Agent Orange way back in the 60s, which we all now know is sadly linked to cancer and birth defects. Monsanto also developed and sold recombinant bovine somatotropin (also known as rBST and rBGH), a synthetic hormone that increases milk production, which many consumers are against for possible health risks (Monsanto has since sold that business in 2008).

Are Organic Foods Non-GMO?
Certified organic foods can't intentionally include GMO ingredients, but unfortunately organic certification does not require GMO testing, so while a food might be labeled "organic," it's not necessarily non-GMO unless specified. There are currently 37 states working on passing bills that require mandatory GMO-labeling, and some states including Connecticut and Maine have already passed them.

How Do I Find Non-GMO Foods?

Until all states make labeling a law, the Non-GMO Project is one company determined to make it easy for consumers to find products made with non-GMO ingredients. Check out this list of brands and products that have been non-GMO certified, or look for the logos below when shopping.

Source: Flickr user sumitrarose

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justsaynogmo justsaynogmo 2 years
Huge Grant, CEO of Monsanto, says "There's room on the supermarket shelf for all of us." Nope Mr. Grant, you're wrong on that one. You lost your place on the shelf when you and your company made a business decision to violate whatever trust the American people may have placed in you as contributors of wholesome food by adding gmo's secretly.You decided to skip all established protocols of research and medicine and use the people of this country without their knowledge or consent in what amounts to the largest experiment with human health in history. There have been other experiments. Monsanto's gmo project reminds me of the Public "Health" Service experiment in 1932, when the US Public Health Service decided it was ok to put 399 black men, who were known to the service to have Syphilis into a scientific "study" , and monitor them for 40 years Without providing them any treatment! All done because the scientists wanted to watch the natural progression of the disease. That's what you remind me of Monsanto, The Tuskegee_Syphilis_experiment. Are the American people your Syphilis patients dumbly waiting, unaware of the diseases growing inside them? There's another thing I think of when I think about Monsanto and their gmo's, especially when I hear how all THEIR "scientists" have produced studies saying the gene-tampered stuff is safe. What it reminds me of is how another passel of shifty no-account scientists working for another type of big ag business-Tobacco-got up before the Congress of the United States with their studies, put their hand on a bible and said "Cigarettes are NOT Harmful." Give me a reason why anyone should trust Monsanto. . What have they done to earn the public's trust ? Monsanto has dismissed people's legitimate concerns with an unparalleled arrogance and contempt.. In daily increasing outspoken numbers, Americans reject gmos in their food . As new concerns are raised daily, it is clear the people questioning gmo safety are right. Yesterday, we learned that the digestive tracts of pigs are destroyed by gmo feed; today we learn that people all across Europe are testing positive for Roundup in their urine.Who and What next?
cams cams 8 years
I used to be really pro-GMO because it could be a good thing like adding b-carotene to rice/noodles in areas of Asia where vitamin A deficiency is common. BUT, one reason that they are making these is because bugs and bacteria can become resistant to pesticides.....but did they not think that the bugs could become resistant to the GMO plant? then we'd have a swarm of superbugs. I truly think that the only reason companies are doing this is to make money
cams cams 8 years
I used to be really pro-GMO because it could be a good thing like adding b-carotene to rice/noodles in areas of Asia where vitamin A deficiency is common. BUT, one reason that they are making these is because bugs and bacteria can become resistant to pesticides.....but did they not think that the bugs could become resistant to the GMO plant? then we'd have a swarm of superbugs.I truly think that the only reason companies are doing this is to make money
tanyapt tanyapt 8 years
Just wanted to add that foods produced with GM crops do not have to be labeled in the US - and >50% of soybeans are already.
tanyapt tanyapt 8 years
Just wanted to add that foods produced with GM crops do not have to be labeled in the US - and >50% of soybeans are already.
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