The Scary Truth of Genetically Modified Foods

I want to talk today about a topic that I care a great deal about; genetically modified organisms. I am amazed how many people I talk to who tell me they have never heard of such a thing. Genetic modification (GMO, GE, GM) began in our food system in 1994. Today, 75-80% of foods in a conventional grocery store have been genetically modified. As our parents and grandparents continue to argue that organic food is a "conspiracy" and a "waste of money" and "I turned out just fine", I feel the need to remind them that they are not the ones effected by these foods. When they were young, there was no such thing as organic because everything was technically organic. The concept of GM foods had not yet been invented. The time is here and now. This is the generation to be effected; us and our children. So please, let's do something!

The term genetically modified refers to foods and crops whose DNA have literally been genetically altered in a laboratory to yield bigger crops that will stay fresh longer and be resistant to pests. At first glance, this may sound like a great idea, but there is a high price to pay for these cheap psuedo crops. When there is even one chromosome or one gene out of balance in humans, this is what can cause a number of outcomes such as mental retardation, down syndrome, autism, and a whole list of conditions. Essentially, this is what genetic modification is doing to our food. When you mess with a gene or a chromosome, you are drastically changing the basic component of that organism. A tomato from a conventional grocery store may look like a tomato, but it is in fact quite different than a smaller tomato you would purchase locally from your farmer's market. While the farmer's market tomato was grown using water and sunshine, the grocery store tomato was genetically altered to grow bigger and faster, sprayed with numerous toxic chemicals, and then it was picked before it was ripe and further ripened using ethylene gas. This may sound extreme, but this is the truth of our food system.

The FDA will repeatedly assure consumers that GMO foods are harmless and there is nothing to worry about, however we are the ONLY country that has not banned/labeled the use of these crops. If other countries have banned the use of genetic engineering, should this not be a red flag to America? Something is not right about this. At this point in time, the FDA is not concerned with health in terms of longevity. They are only concerned with here and now. If GMO foods will not kill us tomorrow, then according to the FDA, they are harmless. So cigarettes must be harmless too, right?

Possibly the greatest red flag in the use of GMO foods, is that they have NEVER been tested for safety. If the FDA wants to say that genetic engineering is safe, then prove it!
People will continue to argue that there is nothing harmless about genetically modified foods by making statements such as, "we aren't dead yet" and, "it's just food". In my
{not so} humble opinion, the food we eat today is the most vital and essential component to our health outcome today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. With the increasing rates of cancers and various diseases, how can we not stop and wonder if what we are eating is in fact slowly killing us?

Take a moment and think of recent illnesses and ailments that seem to be rising up but didn't exist in such vast quantities twenty years ago. Gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, eczema, infertility, soy allergies, egg allergies. There is a direct correlation between these ailments and the rise of GM foods. The wheat we consume today is very different from that which our ancestors ate. Grocery store milk is not only pumped with growth hormones, but it is also pasteurized and stripped of any nutritional value. Soy is the second highest commodity crop next to corn, and therefore the second most common genetically engineered crop. Based on animal studies, these listed ailments may in fact be due to genetic modification of our foods.

Which Foods are Genetically Modified? Here is a list of all foods that are currently allowed to be modified without required labeling in the US.
1. Zucchini
2. Papaya
3. Tomato
4. Sugar Beets
5. Alphalfa
6. Soy
7. Corn
8. Chicory
9. Cottonseed
10. Flax
11. Potato
12. Rice
13. Rapeseed
14. Animal feed- usually derived from corn, soy, and canola.
15. Salmon

How can you avoid genetically modified foods? 
1. Choosing organic is the first step to avoid GM foods. GM ingredients are found in all foods from cereal to eggs to milk to meat. Start by choosing organic for the foods listed above including meat, dairy, wild salmon, and eggs.
2. Avoid conventional corn and soy. Corn and soy are high commodity crops in the US because they are so cheap to produce. These ingredients are most certainly genetically modified unless labeled organic. Watch our for: soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, DATEM, xantham gum, cellulose, maltodextrin, mono and di-glycerides, citric acid, high fructose corn syrup, and soy lecithin, all of these are derived from corn and or soy.  I suggest not consuming any soy or corn that is not labeled as certified organic; including food additives derived from corn or soy.
3. Choose high quality oils. Many people are surprised to hear that canola oil is highly refined and derived from chemically extracted rapeseed. It is impossible to consume canola oil that is not genetically modified, because 100% of rapeseed in the US is GM. I recommend replacing canola oil with unrefined extra virgin coconut oil.
4. Read your food labels and ask questions. Whether shopping at a health food store or a conventional grocer, reading labels is paramount to avoiding GM foods.
5. Sign petitions. The more people who are willing to demand labeling of GMO foods, the more likely our government will listen.
6. Find out which brands are using GMO ingredients, and stop buying those foods! Let's force these companies to give us a higher quality product, or put them out of business. Follow the link to find out which companies are using genetically modified ingredients.

The Bottom Line:
Our FDA is not concerned with this topic because everything in our food system is about money. The current chair of the FDA used to be the chairman for Monsanto, the largest GMO company in America! Our government probably won't do anything about this topic any time soon, so it is up to us. If you want to advocate change, the best thing you can do is to stop buying these products. If you really want to go out on a limb, stop shopping at conventional grocery stores all together! Health food stores such as Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Earthfare are much less likely to carry genetically modified foods. If we all do our part, maybe, just maybe our voices will be heard.

Unknown  – (November 30, 2015 at 3:34 PM)  

Good grief. Get a clue, lady. GMOs are the most tested food products EVER. I've found so many discrepancies in your "article" that it is ridiculous. There is no GMO zucchini, tomato, chicory, flax, rice, or rapeseed. Let's see some legitimate citation before anyone takes this bullshit seriously. My family farms in North Dakota, and we grow GMOs because there is HEAPs of evidence showing that not only is it safe and completely identical to its organic counterpart, but it's BETTER for the environment because it allows us to use LESS pesticides and fewer inputs. Please, talk to a farmer and read some legitimate studies before spewing your nonsense. Getting your information from FoodBabe and GMO Free USA does NOT make you credible.

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