What you should know about GMOs

To many, the term “genetically modified food” may sound unappealing. This is especially true if you are someone who values natural products and eating healthy. But what is it about GMO foods that makes them so controversial? Why choose non-GMO?

Here’s what you need to know to make informed food choices that support your values and your health.

What are GMOs?

GMO stands for genetically modified organism:

  • Genetically refers to the genes that contain DNA, a set of instructions for how cells grow and develop.
  • Modified implies a change or tweak has been made to the genetics.
  • Organism refers to all living things – plants, animals, bacteria and fungi.

GMO’s are living beings (i.e. plants, animals, etc.) that have changed their genetic code.

Why do we grow GMOs?

For the past 20 years, genetically modified crops have been widely grown in North America. Today, the most common GMO crops are engineered to make plants able to withstand specific herbicides, mainly soybeans, cotton, and corn. They can also be engineered to include organic bacteria that make plants toxic to insects. GMOs are used by farmers to help ensure a good yield is produced. Farmers tend to worry about three things when planting their crops:

  1. Insects
  2. Weeds
  3. Weather

GMOs are created to be able to withstand these threats. There is also the thought process that our population exceeds expectations, resulting in a worry that we will not be able to feed everyone efficiently. Many to provide the world’s population with large quantities of agriculture, GMOs are believed by many to provide albeit with less quality.

What are the risks associated with producing and consuming GMO foods?

Concerns regarding GMOs usually focus on how they will affect the environment and how it will affect the consumer.

Concerns regarding GMOs’ possibility of negatively affecting human health could result from differences in nutritional content, allergic response or undesired side effects such as toxicity, organ damage, or gene transfer.

Food allergies are a growing problem worldwide, and it is believed the spike is linked to the GMOs found in food. There is a big concern over transferring specific proteins from one plant to another in genetic engineering. Proteins found in a small number of foods generally cause most allergic reactions. Mixing these different proteins to mass-produce food means there is no way of knowing if there is a protein from another food that one may be allergic to.

Genetically engineered food producers simply do not know where their genetic “cassette” is being inserted in the food. They also do not know enough about foods’ genetic and chemical makeup to establish a “safe” place insertions. Essentially, a food roulette is being played here because each genetic insertion creates the added possibility that formerly nontoxic elements in foods become toxic.

The image reads "The Non-GMO Project Verified nongmoproject.org" with an insignia of an orange butterfly on top of a green checkmark.

Should I purchase non-GMO products?

A great way to know if a product is not genetically modified is by looking for The Non-GMO Project verification sticker. The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization is committed to protecting and building a non-GMO food supply. They are North America’s most trusted third-party verification for non-GMO food and products.

Every Nature’s Emporium location carries a variety of non-GMO products. As always, any team member is available to help with questions regarding non-GMO items and identify and source these products.

Emily D'Addario


More from #ThrivingWithNatures

Young mom sit on couch at home meditating in lotus position, small daughter have fun jumping near, concentrated calm mother practice yoga relax on sofa ignore playful kid. Stress free concept.

How to Deal with Stress During COVID-19

By Nicole Ensoll, CNP | April 23, 2020

In this uncertain and unprecedented time, there’s no doubt you…

Read More
Clear bone broth in a white bowl and vegetables on wooden table top view.

The Benefits of Bone Broth

By Nicole Ensoll, CNP | April 16, 2020

Mother knows best! I’m sure this is a sentiment that…

Read More
Top above high angle view of work space place table nice group of people meeting hands doing making decor things classes courses studying in house brick loft industrial interior room

3+ Fun Easter Recipes you Can Make with Your Kids

By Nicole Ensoll, CNP | April 9, 2020

Easter is just around the corner, and it will undoubtedly…

Read More
Leave a Reply