GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. They have been around since 1996, but are starting to get a lot of press because they are becoming so pervasive in our food system. It is found mainly in corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola oil. The DNA in these and other foods have been genetically altered. By doing so the food becomes resistant to weed-killing herbicides and enables them to produce its own insecticide.
There is concern because these crops produce BT which is a bacterial toxin that is suppose to be deadly when eaten by pest. Long term health risk are unknown when significant amounts are ingested by the consumer. Those that tell you that they aren’t harmful do so because production of the foods have lower production costs and better yield production.
What most consumers don’t realize is that there is a lot of GMO in products they eat on a daily basis. Soybeans and corn are in cereals, snack foods, and salad dressings. Look for the following ingredients on boxes you purchase: corn, sugar, soy protein, cornstarch, corn syrup and vegetable oil. If they are contained in that item, there is a 90% chance there is some GM product included unless it is labeled organic. Some meats and eggs can also be GMO products.
So with all this information that you now have–What can I do to protect my family? One way, is to buy organic food whenever possible. Organic food does not contain GMO. Also, manufacturer’s are starting to respect the consumer and labeling some cereals and snacks as NO GMO–look for this at your next grocery store shopping trip.
If I had small children, I would be concerned because their bodies are so small that it could affect them before causing problems for an adult. Here is a shopping list of non-GMO foods. At first I thought, this is just so hard to keep up with. But if you take just one item a week to investigate or change, before you know it, you and your family will be eating healthier. Also, if you shop at Whole Foods, they have a list of non-GMO foods in their store. I haven’t seen this in any other stores, but ask and they may be able to provide you with a similar list.
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If you do further research on GMO products you will find proponents that say it doesn’t change the nutritional value of the product, but that is as far as they will go when asked:Is there any risk? Most of these organizations are associated with the government. So it is up to you to decide for yourself how far you want to go in eating and serving GMO to your family. You can’t totally delete it from your diet because it is hidden in places you would never think it would be. And when eating out it is impossible to get away from it. So if you goal is to reduce it in your home kitchen, start off small and gradually keeping working with deleting as much as you can over a period of time.
If you want to further explore the possible hazards of GMO foods you will find this book very helpful.