Happy Non-GMO Month
October is Non-GMO Month, and in honor of that, we wanted to provide a quick explanation about GMOs: what they are, what’s at issue, where you find them, and what you can do.
What They Are
GMO stands for a genetically modified organism. In laymen’s terms, a GMO (now sometimes referred to as a bioengineered food), is an organism that has been modified in a lab, resulting in something that would not be found in nature. In other words, it’s something that would have never happened on its own.
For a more in-depth definition, click right here.
What’s At Issue
One issue with using GMOs is that we don’t know what the long-term impact of introducing these lab-made organisms will be on our environment or our health. In addition, innovation in this area is rapid and ongoing. Studies cannot catch up with the profusion of newly-created GMOs entering our world on an increasing basis.
Another area of concern is that GMO technology is often used to make plants that resist herbicides. This means more potent chemicals need to be used on crops. Those chemicals then enter our environment, and can affect the health of native plants, impacting biodiversity. They also have the potential to create “super weeds” or “super bugs” that are also resistant to pesticides.
Finally, GMOs are not confined to a handful of commodity crops anymore – they are found in many products, often flying under the radar of regulators. All in all, the effect of GMOs in our environment and our bodies is under-studied even as they proliferate around us. The deleterious potential they hold for our planet is a cause of major concern to many.
Where You Find Them
A lot of GMO or bioengineered foods are used in animal feed, which means they find their way into eggs, dairy products, seafood, and meat.
In North America, GMOs are also commonly found in corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets. This means that many processed foods with corn syrup, molasses, and flavorings, contain GMOs. https://www.nongmoproject.org/newgmos/
What You Can Do
The first thing you can do is look for the butterfly seal from the Non-GMO Project. They have a specific verification process that brands must go through in order to be considered a Non-GMO Project food.
Choosing 100% organic foods whenever available is another way to try to avoid GMOs. Though the technology behind creating GMOs is rapid and ever-expanding, choosing 100% organic foods whenever possible will typically ensure that they will not contain bioengineered ingredients.
The Department of Agriculture has been instituting rules for more transparency when it comes to foods containing GMOs. They created a bill called the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, however, some have felt that the labeling rules do not go far enough and are continuing to advocate for additional measures.
There We Have It
Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion. If you want to read more (and we always recommend reading more), check out the Non-GMO Project’s site. They have unpacked a lot of the confusing issues surrounding the use of GMOs in our food.
Visit our store or order online to choose from thousands of certified non-GMO and 100% organic foods.