What are GMOs? Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

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Genetically Modified Organisms in Your Everyday Food

According to the website, NON GMO, agricultural products are divided into two groups; high risk and monitored risks. The high risk group is food currently in production that has a high risk of containing GMOs. Some of the high risk products you may have in your home include:

  • Canola oil: about 90 percent of the U.S. crop is genetically modified.
  • Corn: about 88 percent of the U.S. crop in 2011 was genetically modified.
  • Soy: about 94 percent  of the U.S. crop in 2011 was genetically modified.
  • Animal products: meats, dairy, honey, eggs, etc are considered high risk because of the contamination of genetically modified feed that is fed to the animals.

The monitored risk group contains products that may contain genetically modified ingredients. Some of these products include rice, bok choy, chard, and turnips.

Genetically Engineered Food: Do We Need It?

Genetic modification is used in crops to produce plants that are more resistant to diseases, and in animals to produce larger amounts of meat products. The other reason, according to the World Health Organization, is

Say no to GMOs by purchasing organic. Photo by: USDA

that the producer (farmer) and the consumer want food that is cheap but has a high quality of nutrients and is able to withstand shipping.

Genetically-Modified Unknowns

Not knowing if our food that we are eating has been genetically modified to include genes from other organisms (such as rice, corn, and sugar modified to include human genes) is scary to some consumers, while others may not think twice about it, or just not even know about it. Either way, consumers should be able to know whether they are buying genetically modified foods, and what other organisms have been combined to create a food product. By labeling GMO products, producers allows consumers to make a more informed decision. As of now, the only way to ensure that you are not buying genetically modified foods, is to buy 100 percent certified organic products, or start an heirloom garden and grow it yourself.

Resources:

NON GMO Project. What is a GMO? (2012). Accessed November 9, 2012.

Institute for Responsible Technology. GE Process. (2012). Accessed November 9, 2012.

United States Food and Drug Administration. Genetically Engineered Plants for Food and Feed. (2012). Accessed November 9, 2012.

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