NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF GMOS IN FOOD
What does GMO mean? This is a common question as more people and companies are talking about the value of non-GMO and organic foods. Simply put, GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which means that some aspect of a food has been genetically engineered or has used GMO crops during manufacturing. This is different than crossing different breeds of plants or animals to create new species. This instead involves cloning and inserting foreign DNA and modified organisms into animals and plants.
The number of so-called GMO ingredients and products in the supermarket are growing, but the body of research surrounding their effects on the human body is not increasing as rapidly. This is just one of the problems with GMOs. We don’t fully understand the GMO benefits and risks. With both adult and children’s health on the line, not knowing the negative impacts of GMOs can be dangerous.
To help you make healthy food choices, we’ll explain the risks and benefits of using GMOs in food and how they can affect your health. After reading this, you may find that the genetically modified food list is more problematic than you realized.
THE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF GMOS
GMOs wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have some benefits. The U.S. Department of Energy listed several potential benefits of genetically engineered foods, including improved taste, more nutrients, resistance to pests and disease, and faster crop growth. Proponents of genetically modified animals claim that modifying their genes allows them to produce better meat, milk, and eggs, while also improving their health and resistance to disease.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations suggested that GMO crops and other genetic modification sources may allow farmers to produce more nutritious food. For example, rice, which feeds 50% of the world’s population, could be genetically modified to have more vitamin A to reduce vitamin deficiency in the developing world.
It’s true that GMO products could potentially have these benefits, but the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy also listed some negative effects of GMOs.
Because scientists mix genes from different foods together in order to make genetically modified foods, it can lead to allergic reactions and unintended side effects. As an example, soybeans were genetically engineered in 1996 to have the same proteins as Brazil nuts. Thankfully, researchers realized that these soybeans had the same allergens as the nuts, so they were not released to the public.
In addition to allergy problems, the modifications in food could also affect the effectiveness of antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat infections and illnesses in the future.
But our health isn’t the only concern. Genetically engineered crops are more resistant to pesticides, which allows farmers to use more of these chemicals on the land. The result could be polluted bodies of water, due to runoff, and damaged soil. Clearly, the negative effects of GMOs span from our health to our environment.
THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF GMOS
In addition to allergies and resistance to antibiotics, what can GMOs cause? This is a common question among consumers. Although research has been limited on the long-term effects of GMOs and other genetic modification sources on human health, several animal studies suggest that genetically engineered foods may come with a long list of health concerns.
In 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) issued an opinion that physicians should advise their patients to avoid GMOs in food. Why? Several animal studies found that GMO foods are linked to immune system problems, infertility, issues with insulin regulation, accelerated aging, and concerning changes in major organs.
Researchers have additional concerns about genetically modified foods. They warn that GMOs could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect side effects. Some examples include novel allergies, new diseases, and nutritional deficits.
The cause of these health issues relates to the genetic manipulation of plants, including soybeans, corn, and canola. Geneticists insert foreign genes into these plants, such as bacteria and viruses, to change certain aspects of the plant. However, these foreign genes have never been in the human food supply, so their effects are uncertain and potentially dangerous.
At this point, it seems that GMOs could have a number of startling health effects. However, these genetically modified organisms continue to exist due to the benefits for food producers and sellers.
TRYING TO AVOID GMO FOODS?
It can be a challenge to avoid GMO products. In fact, the most common foods on the genetically engineered food list include diet staples, such as corn (nearly 85% in the U.S.), soy, alfalfa, canola (around 90% in the U.S.), and milk. However, by looking for the “Non-GMO Project” butterfly logo on products, you can be sure that you’re eating foods without GMOs. Finding products with this labelling will ensure that you are staying away from genetic engineering food sources. When buying snacks and other products, always look for the non-GMO label.
All Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes and Protein Cookies are perfect vegan snacks that are free from GMOs and all other genetically engineered crops. Just look for the non-GMO logo! These products all have the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that we use only high-quality, non-GMO ingredients that adhere to the Non-GMO Project Verified regulations. Know you are getting the best product on the market with our non-GMO labeling!
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