GMO: 3 Letter Acronyms Aren’t Food
What is a GMO?
GMO is an acronym that stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The acronym generally revolves around food although there are other such genetically modified organisms that exist. For this purpose, we will only be discussing GMOs as foods. Scientists and agriculturalists have been engineering foods for decades. They have taken “beneficial” genes from various organisms (plants, animals, and bacteria) and inserted them into many of the crops that we are currently planting and eating. Thus, they have created a super-food so-to-speak. These foods are naturally resistant to herbicides (Roundup). The food also kills insects by creating toxins inside the cells. These toxins kill the insects that eat the crop.
What is herbicide resistance?
These genetically altered foods can be sprayed with roundup (a common herbicide) and not die. This is useful to farmers because they can spray as much roundup as they want to get rid of unwanted plants and weeds without having to worry about their own crop dying. This allows farmers to produce more crops with less loss from weeds stealing vital nutrients from the plants.
What is a “natural” pesticide?
GMO crops are infused with genes that cause the plant cells to create their own toxins to insects. If an insect eats the plant, it dies. Therefore, the plants create their own pesticide without having to be sprayed with chemical pesticides. In a way, this is a good thing as it has dramatically cut down on how much chemical pesticides need to be used on the plants that we consume. The bad news is that instead of the pesticide being on the outside of the plant, it is now created on the inside of the individual cells. This means that it cannot be washed off when you eat the plant because it is inside the millions of cells of each plant.
Do you eat GMOs?
If you are an American, you eat GMOs. In our nation, it is nearly impossible to avoid GMOs completely. Even most health food stores contain GMOs. Almost all processed foods contain GMOs.
Is non-organic meat GMO?
At this time, as far as I know, there are no genetically modified meats although they are in the process of getting approved. For example, scientists are trying to create salmon that grow to maturity faster, pigs that have better digestion, etc. Even though meat is not currently genetically modified, it is important to note that many of our meats eat GMO crops like genetically modified corn.
How do I avoid GMOs?
It is quite difficult to avoid GMOs in America at this time as all legislation requiring products to print “Contains GMOs” on their label has been shut down. 80% of all food items found in the grocery store contain GMOs.
You can avoid GMOs by eating organic foods because organic foods do not contain GMOs (except from GMO pollen contamination).
Eating organic can be costly, if you are on a budget, first try upgrading fruits and vegetables to organic. Then, begin looking for other organic and non-GMO foods to upgrade to.
I recently watched an excellent documentary on this subject called “GMO OMG.” It was well written and entertaining. There are also countless books on the subject.