By Jean Scheid

gmo tomato

GMOs or genetically modified organisms are found in many products. Most people who want to live an organic lifestyle offer many reasons why GMOs are bad.

What Are GMOs?

Think of genetically modified organisms as a process. GMOs are used to change plants, animals or any living organism so they are genetically altered. While some foods and products offered today are produced through the GMO process, some scientists say they are useful to make items more desirable. For instance, seeds or plants that have been genetically altered may grow larger or be more colorful. Nay Sayers of GMOs argue the altering of foods, animals or plants is a bioethical debate.

Why GMOs Are Bad

Some people may like that tomato larger and redder where others claim that all GMOs are bad no matter where or how they’re used. Even further, much of the products for sale at our markets that contain GMOs are not government-regulated or labeled.

The Institute for Science in Society(ISIS) believes introducing GMOs into any part of our lifestyle is a bad thing. ISIS claims GMOs haven’t delivered as promised with regard to crops, can cause contamination, and are making some farms unsafe with bacterial issues. Further, ISIS says all the DNA genetic engineering can produce super viruses, unwanted bacteria, and even cancer.

An example of this genetic engineering in food according to ISIS is “genes from an artic flounder which has antifreeze properties may be spliced into a tomato to prevent frost damage.” Genetic engineering or the use of GMO processes is not precise which can lead to unpredictable effects. Simply, the use of GMOs and if they are safe is something that requires more research.

What Foods Contain GMOs?

GMOs are present in almost sixty percent of all processed foods including vegetable oil, Soya flour, lecithin, and Soya proteins. GMO maize products make up approximately fifty percent of processed foods including corn, cornstarch, and corn syrups. Beets, sugar, dairy products, and soybeans are also produced through genetic engineering.

With the lack of labeling and regulation of foods that contain GMOs, how can people who want to be organic be safe and make smart food choices?

Shop GMO-Free

There are ways to avoid genetically altered foods that contain GMOs. According to Say No to GMOs, there are foods that are safe and ones to skip:

Certified Organic Foods – In order for a food to be called certified organic it must not have been produced using any type of genetic engineering. Seek out food products that are labeled as certified organic.

Dairy Products – Again instead of mass-produced dairy products choose organic dairy products. Their labels easily identify companies that offer organic dairy products.

Soy, Corn, Canola and Cottonseed Oils – Because GMOs are found in all of these products, it’s a good idea to read food labels and make sure the products you buy are free of them.

Cheese – There are various types of rennet that can be found in some cheeses, even organic cheeses. Look for cheese that is rennet-free.

Processed Foods – Even cutting down on your consumption of processed foods can help fight the GMO battle. Look for an ingredient called dough conditioner in baked goods and avoid those.

Sweetener Substitutes – Some sweeteners contain aspartame. If you use artificial sweeteners, read the label and find one that is aspartame-free.

Vitamin Supplements – Vitamins can contain soy or corn ingredients. To ensure your supplements are safe, call the manufacturer and inquire.

Meat, Poultry & Eggs – Only purchase these if you know the animals have been fed and raised organically. Most of these types of foods are clearly labeled.

Finding Certified Organic Manufacturers

CCOF, or the Certified Organic Trade Association, offers many resources on finding products that are organic and free of GMOs. Visit their website to find out how manufacturers become certified and sign up for their free e-newsletter. Visit the CCOF store and browse organic directories.

Join the Fight

If you are organic and want to spread the word on why GMOs are bad, start your own email newsletter or hold neighborhood meetings. Speak at your local community center. Telephone companies you know are using GMOs or write to them and insist they revisit the manufacturing process. Talk to the supermarket manager and express your concern on GMO products. Suggest more labeling at grocery stores or an organic expert to aid customers. As scientists debate the question why GMOs are bad, begin your own campaign and become truly organic!



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