Why Find Non-GMO Foods Here?
What do you get if you cross a fish with a fruit? The answer, with all jokes aside, a fruit resembling a strawberry with the ability to produce its own anti-freeze in order to withstand cold temperatures without going bad. Sound appetizing? Whether or not genetically modified (GM) foods seem appealing to the public, these foods have managed to find large spaces upon our conventional supermarket shelves with, up to 70 percent of processed foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, according to the Center for Food Safety. Ironically, as common as these foods have become, most people are not fully aware of their presence. Mainly due to the fact that these companies are not mandated to label or warn consumers about their products containing genetically engineered ingredients.
Genetically Modified foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are created through various gene splicing and recombination techniques. Part of this process takes place in a laboratory, where for example, a portion of DNA from one species is removed and recombined with the DNA of another species, resulting in the creation of an organism which otherwise would likely never have been created in nature. In many cases, bacteria or viruses are used to penetrate into a cell where new genetically engineered DNA can be deposited. Examples of GM foods range from corn which can produce an insecticide within its own cells, to soybeans which can resist the harmful effects of exposure to extreme levels of pesticides. Food such as papayas, rice, tomatoes, sugar, potatoes, peas, squash, canola and flax are just some examples which may be genetically modified and sold at conventional supermarkets. Although the FDA is in charge of regulating the safety of GM foods, it lays the responsibility on the producing corporations to assess the safety of its GM food with its own studies. This has caused great concern among scientists and doctors throughout the world.
Professor Dennis Parke of the University of Surrey School of Biological Sciences and British adviser to the US FDA on the safety aspects of biotechnology warns that the current testing procedures of genetically altered foods, including rodent tests, are not proving safety for humans. Animal studies done by third parties, such as The committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, have shown that animals consuming GM foods have developed serious health problems such as infertility, immune dysfunction, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and liver, kidney and gastrointestinal damage. These findings have led to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine releasing its position paper stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk” and calling for a moratorium on genetically modified foods.
The best way to avoid GMOs is to purchase and consume organically grown foods and foods labeled with “Non-GMO Ingredients” or “GMO- Free”. By purchasing food from stores that are proactive in supporting local, organic and sustainable agriculture, it not only benefits your physical health but makes for a healthier environment, and helps to protect and support small scale family farms through building and strengthening communities.
http://www.thefutureoffood.com/ (Website to The Future of Food Documentary)
Lipson, E. (2001) The Organic Foods Sourcebook (pp. 95-97, 100-102) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
http://www.safe-food.org/-issue/scientists.html (Website – scientist’s opinions on Genetically Modified Foods)