The topic of GMO’s is a BIG one to tackle, but let’s get started.
GMO’s are rampant in our US food system. GMO stands for ‘genetically modified organisms’ and remain very controversial. They are plants or animals created through genetic engineering, merging DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes than cannot occur in nature or traditional crossbreeding. For example, in traditional breeding you could breed a pig with another pig to get a new variety, or the same with an apple and a pear. With genetic engineering, scientists can “breach species barriers set by nature” such as splicing fish genes into tomatoes, which they have done.
The concerns of GMO’s are associated with health problems, environmental damage and violations of farmer’s and consumer’s rights, and there is no shortage of information discussing all of these topics. While they are in an overwhelming number of our foods in the US, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on production and sale of GMO’s, in more than 40 countries around the world including Australia, Japan and all of the countries in the European Union.
There is no legally required labeling for GMO’s, so you will have to do some reading and investigation of your food. According to the Grocery Manufacturing Association, 70% of items in US food stores contain GMO’s. Whole Foods just announced two days ago that they will be requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods on all products sold in the company’s 339 stores within five years.
The most common GMO’s are corn, soy and canola oil. Some good news, you may be surprised to know that currently no North American wheat is genetically modified.
Today, let’s just focus on corn, though you should know it may still be in your food even though it is not on the label. As well, there are a few hundred ingredients that are corn, derived from corn or can contain corn (for a full list, see http://www.cornallergens.com), the list is astonishing. Because of this, your best bet is to eat only whole foods or ones that are specifically labeled that they containn No GMO’s.
… more on this topic to come… many healthy wishes to you today!