GMO'S - Genetically Modified Organisms
GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals in ways that cannot occur naturally. GMOs are not considered to be safe and have been connected with health problems and environmental damage. Their long-term environmental impacts are still unknown.
Agricultural GMOs are used for resistance to herbicides, which means increasing toxicity and detrimental effects to the environment. The most common GMO crops are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa and squash (courgette and yellow) and can also be present as added ingredients in a large amount of foods.
According to the Non-GMO project, more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. But in the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
The UK GMO rulings set by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), include safety risk assessments on a case-by-case basis for the planting, release or marketing of GM food and clear product labelling. No GM crops are being grown commercially in the UK, but imported commodities, especially soya, are being used mainly for animal feed and in some food products. Defra also state that the protection of human health and the environment are the principal priorities, however, go on to recognize that GM technology could deliver benefits providing it is used safely and responsibly suggesting the future is uncertain.
Over the pond in North America, 90% or above of corn, canola, cotton, sugar beet and soy are grown from GMO seed. This not only means that over 70% of the packaged food contains GMOs but there is also a high risk of contamination to non-GMO crops. In fact, it is said that more than 30% of farmers seeking to grow organic have reported or suspected GMO presence. Chemical companies with patents can also sue some of these farmers if their fields are contaminated, be it intentionally or not.
The easiest way to avoid GMO products is to eat locally and organically and read packaging to see what else has been added and where the ingredients are coming from. Reducing the amount of packaged foods, in particular cereals, and opting for homemade and fresh choices will help.
Jo Wood tells us more on the importance of going organic.
Here is a little more on some other toxic foods that we should be avoiding.