The government and big business are messing with our food supplies in order to produce larger yields and to prevent crops from being eaten by insects and other pests. For most of us, this isn’t a big shocker but the sheer volume of foods that are being genetically modified is horrifying, especially considering that no labeling is required.
What is GMO?
Short for genetically modified organism, GMO’s are spliced into the actual cells of the plant to make it resistant to insects and disease. That sounds like a great plan since now they won’t have spray pesticides on it, right? Wrong. The GMO actually IS a pesticide and it’s being incorporated into the plant at the cellular level. In other words, there’s no way to wash it off like you can many pesticides.
Worse, there are no labeling requirements for products that contain GMO, so you don’t even know that you’re eating it. Since it’s actually part of the product and not an ingredient, companies don’t have to spill the soybeans about genetic modification.
Genetic modification has been going on since practically the beginning of agriculture in order to increase food yields and disease resistance or to improve flavor but the standard procedure was to use natural processes. For instance, combining two different types of corn to make the new breed sweeter and more disease resistant is a common practice. The difference is that in GMO, foreign genes that aren’t naturally occurring to the plant are introduced by chemical engineers.
In short, they’re literally poisoning the plant at the cellular level. Though mainstream research says that this is OK, there’s no long-term research done on GMO’s and it’s hard to believe that eating pesticides is a good thing.
In recent decades, since the introduction of GMO, food allergies and diseases such as cancer have skyrocketed. Could there be a link? Many believe so.
What Foods Contain GMO?
Now it’s time to look at some numbers, and they’re shocking. According to some estimates, GMO’s are in 60-70% of foods on American supermarket shelves. That’s right – more than half of the foods in the grocery store have been genetically modified in some way. Here are some of the top ones:
- Papayas – 77% of crops grown in Hawaii are genetically modified to be disease-resistant.
- Corn – 80-90% of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified. Most ends up as animal food or as filler in processed foods, but recently, Montsanto, a genetics company, introduced sweet corn with GMO. That brand is what you’ll find at one of your local superstores.
- Milk – RGBH is a genetically-engineered form of a natural hormone that causes cows to produce milk. It’s banned in milk products in many countries, but up to 90% of dairy products in the US, including milk, ice cream, and cheese, contain it.
- Zucchini and squash – most of these products are GMO-free but there are about 25,000 acres of it sold in the US that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to viruses
- Processed foods – the vast majority of processed foods contain GMO’s.
- Soy, canola, and cottonseed oils – Currently about 90% of these oils contain GMO. Milk products are usually the exception to this. Companies such as Silk, a leading soymilk producer, do not use soy with GMO. Cottonseed and canola oil are both used by restaurants to fry their foods.
- Sugar beets – 95% of sugar beets in the US contain GMO.
In addition to foods that actually contain GMO’s, there is also the danger of cross-contamination of foods that are not genetically modified being processed alongside food that has been. Also, a small amount of oil is often added to dried fruits, and – you guessed it – those oils are often canola, soy, or cottonseed.
Finally, though meats containing GMO’s aren’t currently approved for human consumption, the corn and other feed that they eat contain GMO’s so you’re getting them because they can be passed into the meat.
How to Avoid GMO’s
The only real way to avoid GMO’s is to either grow your own food so that you know exactly what is going into it, or buy organic-certified foods from local farmers or grocery stores. Foods that are certified as organic cannot contain GMO’s according to government regulations.
Some states, including Connecticut and Maine, are now requiring that genetically-engineered products be labeled as such but these laws don’t go into effect until other states adopt the requirement as well. Until then, assume that most of your non-organic food may contain GMO’s in one way or another and
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.