Do you know your eating? Do you often eat processed foods? Do you read the ingredient lists on foods? Do you know what GMO stands for? October is non genetically modified organism (GMO) month or unprocessed month ,organized by the Non GMO project to help raise awareness about GMO’s.
What are GMO’s?
Genetically modified organisms are organisms whose genetic (DNA) makeup has been altered using genetic engineering techniques; allowing for the introduction of new traits that would not normally occur in nature. Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) are foods produced from an organisms who have DNA changes from genetic engineering. GM foods are designed to resist drought, weeds, pests , improve nutrient profile of some foods and solve world hunger.
What foods in Canada are GMO?
In Canada there are four GMO crops.
3). Canola oil
4). Sugar beets
How can I tell if my food contains GMO?
Unlike many other nations such as the European Nation , Canada and the United States do not have any regulations in regards to the labeling of GMO’s. The best way to tell if a product has GMO’s is to read the ingredient list of foods you purchase, buy organic, or look for a seal of approval label by the non GMO project. Did you know that over 70% of packaged foods in the supermarket contain GMO’s. Here is a common list of packaged foods that contain GMO ingredients as additives, stabilizers, and flavoring agents ,unless they are certified organic.
Some common packaged ingredients:
Ketchup, pickles, salad dressings, chewing gum, mayonnaise, yogurt, crackers, cookies, pasta sauces, tomato sauces, cereals, veggie burgers, meat substitutes, protein powder, baking soda, peanut butter, flours, sugars (unless cane), bread, infant cereal, margarine, fruit juice, hamburgers, hotdogs, soy sauce, and alcohol.
Currently, most of the produce in the section of your super market are GMO free; however ,Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soy ), summer squash, zucchini, and corn are considered to be high risk for GMO’s, unless grown organically. Furthermore, its not just what we are eating but also what animals are eating. Its common for animal feed to contain corn, soy, and alfalfa which are most likely grown from GMO seeds. This also includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter .
Why should be concerned about GMO’s ?
There is a lot of controversy around GMO’s among consumers, large biotechnology companies, government, scientists, health and environmental activists. Concerns around safety, environment, and farmers economic stability are the mainstay around GMO’s. Furthermore, the biotechnology companies are required to do their own safety regulations, which many feel is inadequate.
Mandatory GMO labeling is required in many countries except Canada and the United States, studies show consumers feel its their right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.
Long term impacts of GMO’s on our health are unproven, a major concern among health advocates is that the large biotechnology companies are fund the studies, questioning the reliability. Some health concerns are the increase in allergies, infertility, autism, possible antibiotic resistance and stomach bacteria. Animal studies show increase in birth defects, altered immune system, increase in tumors, and reproductive problems.
Environmental impacts since the introduction of GMO’s have led to emergence of “superweeds” ,which require more toxic agents are required to kill them, also developed and patent by the same biotech companies. Roundup, developed by Monsanta, the largest GMO seed company, does not breakdown and is found in our streams. Another concern, is the decrease in honey bees and the Monarch butterflies due to GMO’s crops producing their own pesticides.
There are economic concerns for the small farmers using sustainable growing methods and farmers using GMO seeds. Large biotechnology companies have patents on their GMO crops, if a sustainable farmer crop tests positive for GMO’s even if its from drift will face legal action. Furthermore, farmers using GMO seeds are required to purchase GMO seeds annually, negatively affecting their profits.
6 steps to avoid GMO’s
1). Buy organic . In Canada and the United States certified organic products prohibit GMO’s.
2). Look for seal approve label by a third non profit party.
3). Read ingredient list and be aware of added GMO ingredients
4). Consume a plant based/ organic diet
5). Choose grains, beans, legumes, and lentils (avoid corn and soy)
6). Know what in your animal’s diet; buy meat that’s organic or verified that its been feed is GMO free.
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