What are GMOs Anyway?

Well? I wasn’t entirely sure, I’ve seen some things on TV, done some light reading, but I still wasn’t clear. Should we avoid eating Genetically Modified foods? Are we harming ourselves and our families? Here’s the skinny on GMOs!

First let’s start basic: Definition of GMO

So, I’m talking specifically about genetically modified crops. In the last 20 years, using GM technology to grow our food has increased A LOT! (lots of statistics in the link above). I’m talking 60-70% of processed foods, and 90% of foods containing high fructose corn syrup contain GMOs. 

Here are 5 facts that seemed like the most important to point out about GMOs

  1. The safety of GMOs for human consumption has not been assured- so the jury is still out on them. We do know that GMOs may migrate into other farms, and they use more pesticides than non-GMO crops.
  2. The 9 GMO crops on the market today are corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, canola, Hawaiian papaya, yellow crookneck squash and zucchini.
  3. Using GMOs doesn’t ensure a larger harvest, so one major argument in favor of using GMOs is debunked. 
  4. There are no legal label requirements for GMO foods. Some foods are labeled non-GMO, but those containing GMOs are not regulated. 
  5. The long term effects of GMOs is unknown, since they are relatively new, but there are reports of chronic illnesses, food allergies and reproductive and digestive disorders increasing since GMO foods have been grown and sold. 

If you have decided that GMOs are something you would like to avoid, here is a list of ways to do so, and a link to a great resource with more info on GMOs:

CHOOSING GMO-FREE FOODS

AVOID processed foods. It’s a simple way to reduce exposure to the four most common GM derived ingredients: non-organic forms of soy, canola, cottonseed oil & corn, including high fructose corn syrup.
LOOK for the voluntary “non-GMO” label.
BUY “certified organic,” which ensures that no GMO ingredients are used.
VISIT www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com for a list of non-GMO products & brands.

The same publisher has a guide to going organic, linked here: Why Organic? They list out the fruits and veggies highest and lowest in pesticides, which I’ve copied below!

THE DIRTY DOZEN: HIGHEST IN PESTICIDES

Strawberries
Peaches
Apples
Celery
Sweet Bell Peppers
Nectarines
Cherries
Lettuce
Grapes
Pears
Spinach
Potatoes

THE CLEAN FIFTEEN: LOWEST IN PESTICIDES

Asparagus
Pineapple
Onions
Avocado
Sweet Corn
Watermelon
Broccoli
Tomato
Sweet Potato
Sweet Peas
Kiwi
Eggplant
Papaya
Cabbage
Mango

Disclosure: I didn’t set out to write a post that would make up your mind for you, I just had a curiosity about GMOs and thought the information I found was important enough to share. It is entirely up to you to decide which foods you and your family will eat. Here’s to good health!

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