With so many health and nutrition claims clamoring for your attention down the grocery aisles, do you ever question how valid those claims are? Well, I have. Thinking of all those claims make me giggle since if all those claims were true, we’d all be stocking up on Fruit Loops as it cures cancer.
I must admit, rummaging through all the false advertising can be tiresome and discouraging. Before you give up, remember that being and staying healthy requires work. It’s not something we’re born knowing, but a job in itself.
Now, I’m seguing into today’s post, which includes needing to familiarize ourselves with Genetically Modified Organisms’ (GMOs), which are:
defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.
GMO are produced using “modern biotechnology”, “gene technology”, “genetic engineering” or “recombinant DNA technology.” GMO products can derive from animals, plants and/or organisms. Yes, GMOs use some advanced technology that alters original composition, but for some relief those products altered must meet the same FDA requirements as those foods naturally bred. The FDA has a consultation process encompassed of encouraging developers to have the FDA review products prior to heading to the grocery floors. Consultations are considered completed a team of scientists have “signed off” on the safety of products.
How did we go from natural breeding to selective breeding? Humans wanted options and variety at all times of the year. The genetic engineering allows farmers to “speed” up the process and provide the “desired” product. There is a lot of debate regarding the benefits of genetic engineering, stating we wouldn’t have as much food to choose from if food wasn’t modified. I say, what happened to “in season” fruits and vegetables? There is such a concept as too many choices. My biggest issue is that a lot of products aren’t labeled that they have been modified. Consumers deserve to know what they’re eating and if there are hidden ingredients that aren’t initially found in the expected product.
To play devil’s advocate, I’m not going to turn the other cheek in regards to the benefits of GMO because there are some, but below I will definitely acknowledge the risks and concerns with GMOs.
|Potential Benefits||Potential Risks|
|More nutritious through the add in of vitamins and minerals||Modified plants or animals may have genetic changes that are unexpected and harmful–may cause allergic reaction|
|Tastier with the add in of additives, preservatives and flavors||Unknown effects|
|Food with more desirable traits, such as potatoes that absorb less fat when fried||Although Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), there hasn’t been any adequate testing to confirm safety|
|Medicinal foods could be used as vaccines or other medications||Difficulty with patent enforcement|
|Faster growing plants and animals||Modified organisms may interbreed with natural organisms and out-compete them, leading to extinction of the original organism or to other unpredictable environmental effects.|
|Increased supply of food with reduced cost and longer shelf life||Plants may be less resistant to some pests and more susceptible to others.|
|Decreased use of pesticides|
|Disease- and drought-resistant plants require fewer environmental resources (water, fertilizer, etc.)|
One can’t deny the numerous benefits of GMOs, yet the risks can’t be ignored either. This is why many are on the fence on how and if GMOs should have a place in supermarkets. What additional risks or benefits concern you? Do you have a particularly strong stance?