Are you and your family eating GMO – genetically modified – foods? Do you care if you are? Perhaps you should.
GMO foods come from seeds and plants that have been altered in a laboratory. There are various reasons for doing this. For instance, rapeseed, the source of canola oil, has been modified so that the Monsanto company can spray their heribicide RoundUp over the plants without killing them. We have a future post on how well that’s working out! Hint: it’s not.
The ‘scientific community’ and the agribusiness giants that are creating this stuff, agree that it’s safe. Those of us who are eating it aren’t so sure. And apparently most Americans agree that we should at least know whether we’re eating GMO foods, based on this poll by ABC news:
“Nearly everyone, moreover — 93 percent — says the federal government should require labels on food saying whether it’s been genetically modified, or “bio-engineered” (this poll used both phrases). Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.” [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97567&page=1]
One Piece of (Possibly) Good News
We can recognize GMO produce because of the produce stickers or their PLU (price-look-up) numbers . A GM food has the number “8” as its preface while an organic one has a “9”.
Conventionally grown: 1022
Organically grown: 91022
Genetically modified: 81022
So the bananas pictured here are conventionally grown – meaning the farmer used pesticides – but at least the banana itself was produced by Mother Nature, rather than Carrie Chemist.
One helpful observation is that food that is ‘hybrid‘ – like seedless watermelon – is (almost) certain to be genetically modified.
Why is this ‘possibly’ good news? Because I’m not so trusting of labels. Nah, I guess I shouldn’t be that paranoid? (X-Files music playing in the background).
You Have DEFINITELY Eaten GMO Food
Apparently, a shocking 70% of our food is GMO and a huge part of the reason is because of two crops: corn and soybeans, which are almost exclusively GMO. If you’re thinking, “Well, I just won’t eat corn or soybeans”, realize that it’s not that simple.
For instance, corn syrup is omnipresent in our foods. And there’s corn starch, corn oil, baking powder, malt, mono- and diglycerides, confectioner’s sugar. And soy is in a huge number of products, which is why I quit eating Morningstar Black Bean burgers (and most meat substitutes), and now make my own burgers. There are lots of other, common products that are likely to have GMO ingredients in them, like chocolate, peanut butter, frozen yogurt, ice cream, mayonnaise, cookies and crackers. Many of the food manufacturers may not know themselves if there are GMO ingredients in their products.
The Real Question About GMO Foods
It’s truly simple: who do you trust most? Mother Nature or some group in a chemistry lab?