What Are GMOs and Should You Be Concerned?

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are created in laboratories and are the result of forcing genes from one species of a plant or animal into the DNA of another entirely unrelated species in order to create desirable qualities. GMOs have traits that would never be found in nature, such as tomatoes with fish genes, and therefore carry unique risks.

The most common genetically modified (GM) food is corn, cotton, soy, sugar beets, canola, alfalfa, papaya, yellow summer squash and zucchini.

All of these crops are engineered to withstand otherwise deadly doses of Monsanto’s poisonous weed-killer Roundup, and they accumulate high levels of the herbicide. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable human carcinogen.”

More than 80% of the packaged foods on supermarket shelves contain GMOs—from soda to soups, crackers to condiments. Processed food makes up a majority of the standard American diet, and specifically children’s diets—of cereals, snacks, fast food and sugary drinks. GMOs are hidden in hundreds of ingredients, from aspartame to vitamins, and consumers are largely unaware.

GMOs have been in our food supply for 20 years and have never been adequately tested for human safety. Animal studies found that GMOs caused problems with reproduction, immunity, digestion, insulin and cholesterol regulation, and organ function.

A recent study has shown evidence that glyphosate is likely contributing to the increased prevalence of multiple types of cancer in humans including breast, thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreatic, kidney, and myeloid leukemia.

Other studies conclude that there are very strong and highly significant correlations between the increase in GMOs and the increase in chronic diseases such as autism, obesity, diabetes, ADHD, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Children are the most vulnerable to the dangers of GMOs because they are more sensitive to chemicals and toxins, and their immune systems and blood brain barriers are not fully developed. And children can be exposed to glyphosate in areas where Roundup is sprayed such as school playgrounds, sports fields, public parks, and lawns. Glyphosate has also been found in human breast milk.

GMOs are everywhere, so how do you avoid them?

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans want mandatory labels on GM food, the federal government does not require them. Without GMO labeling, consumers must be vigilant in their shopping and dining choices.

Here are a few tips for avoiding GMOs:

1. Buy Organic – look for the USDA Certified Organic seal

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2. Look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal

 

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3. Avoid at-risk ingredients – soy, canola, cottonseed, corn, papaya, and sugar from sugar beets (or any sugar that’s not from pure sugar cane)

4. Buy products listed in the Non-GMO Shopping Guide

Read more here about avoiding GMOs and their hidden ingredients.

Read more here about the health and environmental dangers of GMOs