WHAT DOES GMO STAND FOR
GMOs. You’ve definitely heard of them, but do you know what they are? GMO foods are all over today’s headlines, and today’s grocery aisles, so we’re here to help you make educated, informed decisions about the foods that are landing in your shopping cart. Check out this article for answers to all your questions about GMOs and what it takes to be labeled a Non-GMO food.
WHAT ARE GMOS
GMOs stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. All organisms, or living things, whether we’re talking about plants, animals, or bacteria, are made up of cells. When an organism is genetically modified, DNA has been taken from inside the cell and altered from its natural state to give it new characteristics. As these modified cells begin to grow and multiply, the organism now exists with the new trait that its cells were engineered to contain.
WHY ARE GMOS IN OUR FOODS
GMOs worked themselves into our foods because big food companies were looking for ways to grow crops that were resistant to herbicides and pesticides. By working with scientists, the companies discovered that they were able to modify the genes of their crops to no longer be affected by these chemicals and/or create their own pesticides. Since the companies can now use whatever herbicides or pesticides they want, these genetically modified crops are favored because there is a much lower risk of anything happening to them in the growing process that will affect the company’s bottom line.
EFFECTS OF GMOS – WHY SHOULD WE CARE
There is much debate about whether or not genetically modified foods are harmful to our health, but as it currently stands, the federal government does not require testing to ensure the safety of gmo-foods. There have been studies done that point to them causing damage to our liver, kidneys, and immune system, but there have also been studies that would prove them to be completely safe. Because GMOs are relatively new to our food system, there is also a lack research that tests long-term effects. Michael Hansen, Ph.D., senior scientist at Consumers Union and an expert on genetic engineering explains that, “…scientists around the world agree that GMOs have the potential to introduce allergens and create other unintended changes that may affect health.” Despite the contradicting reports, most people want, at the very least, to be able to decide for themselves whether or not they consume genetically modified foods. This decision varies on a case-by-case basis.
Besides concerns about our own human health, genetically modified foods are also linked to environmental issues. Since GMO crops are resistant to pesticides and herbicides, farmers are now able to use them more than ever before. What’s happening now is that “superweeds” — weeds that are immune to the pesticides and herbicides farmers use — are growing and are unable to be stopped, which in turn wreaks havoc on the crops. Even farmers that choose not to use gmo-seeds are at risk due to how easily cross-contamination happens between crops.
GMO LABELING – WHAT’S THE ISSUE
Having the right to know what you’re eating. It sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but unfortunately when it comes to GM foods, it’s not. Even though more than 90% of Americans are in favor of mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, the United States has still not made this a law. This is contrary to the laws of most developed countries throughout the world, such as England, France, Germany, China, Russia, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Japan, to name a few. To combat this, some states have taken matters into their own hands. Vermont, Connecticut and Maine are the only three states to currently have GMO-labeling laws, though many more have been trying to pass their own as well. Because the United States does not require companies to label foods that are genetically modified, those that label their products as non-GMO are doing so completely on their own will, in an effort to help consumers be educated on the products they are buying.
WHAT GOES INTO THE NON-GMO LABEL
The Non-GMO Project is the only third-party verification in North America for gmo-free foods and products. While companies can make the decision to just state “non-GMO” on a label, the use of this organization’s seal assures customers that the product has been evaluated by an independent party. First appearing on shelves in 2010, the Butterfly seal is now a widely recognized icon that lets shoppers easily see which products are verified, and also helps companies communicate their values to consumers.
Finished products cannot be submitted for review as testing items at this manufacturing stage would not be a reliable standard. Companies must submit information regarding each of their product’s ingredients, as well as documentation on their manufacturing facility, for approval before they can use the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on any packaging or marketing materials. If a product contains high-risk ingredients like soy or corn, further testing and/or an on-site inspection may be required.
DELICIOUS, NON-GMO SNACKS
Here at Munk Pack, all of our Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes and Protein Cookies are Non-GMO Project Verified. They always have been, and always will be. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that we use only high-quality, non-gmo ingredients that adhere to the Non-GMO Project’s regulations. As consumers who eat non-genetically engineered foods, we understand how the Butterfly seal makes it easy to spot non-gmo foods when strolling the grocery aisles, and as a company we always strive to be as transparent as possible.
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