Canned fruit, sweetened juice, vegetable oil, frozen food, cereal, tofu, meat, dairy milk, carbonated soft drinks – what do these all have in common? They most likely contain GMO ingredients. For those of you who don’t know, genetically modified plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola, have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. YES, you may be consuming GMO ingredients daily. NO, they are not safe to eat. Since 1996, Americans have been eating GMO ingredients in most processed foods.
Genetically engineered ingredients came about in the 1990s to:
- make food tastier and more nutritious
- decrease the use of pesticides
- increase the supply of food with reduced cost and a longer shelf life
- have faster growing plants and animals
- produce food with more desirable traits
- make medicinal foods to be used as vaccines or other medications
However, these benefits are largely outweighed by the risks and harmful side effects of GMO ingredients. By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering is associated with dozens of dangerous side effects. Let’s take a look at some of these below:
GMOs Are Bad For Our Health
Animal studies show that the consumption of GMO ingredients may potentially lead to organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging and infertility. Numerous health problems increased right after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses increased from 7% to 13% in 9 years, food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others started to rise.
GMOs Harm Our Environment
GMOs contaminate―forever. First off, GMOs increase the use of herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs, and overuse of this herbicide has resulted in “superweeds” that are resistant to the herbicide. This makes farmers use even more toxic herbicide. This doesn’t only harm the environment, but foods with GMO ingredients contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. In fact, certain herbicides are linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects and cancer. Also, self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure. Genetically modified crops and their herbicides harm our ecosystem, particularly birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems and soil organisms. TGM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. Basically, they reduce biodiversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable.
GMOs Work Against Feeding A Hungry World
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report “Failure to Yield”, GMOs actually work against feeding hungry populations across the world. Sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, whereas GMOs do not increase yields at all, on average. So, GMO ingredients have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition and facilitating social and environmental sustainable. Instead of spending money on safe and reliable technologies, GMOs divert money in a direction that ends up harming our health, the environment and the world as a whole.
So how can we avoid GMO ingredients? It takes some awareness and hey, it’s never too late to start changing our diet. Next time you’re at the grocery store, try to stick to buying organic food or look for a non-GMO label. You can also check out some of our products, which are all organic and GMO-free.