Food is a huge part of our lives, but do we really know what we’re eating? The largest food manufacturing sources rely on Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, to create the *best,* but not always considered natural, versions of our fav foods. GMOs are foods whose DNA is altered through genetic engineering, typically with genes from another organism. GMOs are created to look + taste better, resist insects + disease, ++ promote growth. They’re often found in packaged, processed foods + large-scale agricultural crops, like corn + soy. GMOs are heavily debated on by scientists + food enthusiasts because of their many pros // cons —
GMOs are used in the growth of our largest food products — corn, soybean, ++ canola. Corn is used to create high-fructose corn syrup, which is used heavily in processed foods as a form of sugar, as well as feed for animals, ++ accounts for around 90 percent of feed grain in the U.S! Soybeans are also a part of animal’s feed, in addition to being the main ingredient in soy products. Canola is a type of oil that is used in cooking + as a main ingredient in margarine. Over 90 percent of corn, soy, ++ canola are genetically modified in the U.S — our lives ultimately depend on these GMO sources. Some fruits + vegetables, like potatoes, papaya, ++ squash, are typically genetically modified, while most fresh produce is natural + GMO free. If you choose to avoid GMOs, try shopping local + organic! : )
WHERE THEY ARE
GMOs are grown throughout the world, but not all places treat GMOs with the same importance. Some developed nations place strict rules + regulations on GMOs, while others allow for the genetic engineering of crops. Over 60 countries require GMOs to be labeled for the consumer, but the U.S. is not one of these countries. The Non-GMO Project works to identify non-GMO foods with a label, so you have an option when shopping!
GMOs were created in the early 1980s in order to prevent the spread of disease, avoid insects, ++ create the best version of a crop. The first GMO product to hit the market in 1994 was a tomato with a longer shelf life than others. After the first GMO food was created, GMOs took off into the late 1990s + over 100 million acres of GMO seeds were planted. GMOs are sold today more than ever + around 70 percent of foods in the supermarket contain genetically modified ingredients.
No need to fret — GMOs are fairly safe for your health! According to scientific research, GMOs do not affect your major organ’s function // growth, fertility, or genetic makeup. The health effects of GMOs are mostly positive, but in some cases, GMOs can cause allergic reactions. The allergic reactions are not overly common + are typically caused by the mislabeling of food or a consumer’s lack of knowledge about the food [a reason to label for GMO products!].
It is important to know what is inside of our food to feed our bodies with the best possible fuel. Try to learn the processes behind food production + development to know the future of our food, while enriching your body + mind with valuable information. Next time you’re at the grocery store, look into the ingredients in your food + check the label! : )
++ Brittany Bluthardt [@brittanyblu_inchaarg] // Butler University