You've heard the hype. "GMO Labeling!" "GMO's are bad!" "GMO's will save the planet!"
What is a GMO and why do they exist?
A GMO is a genetically modified organism. A product of DNA splice and dicing to create an organism with desirable features. GMO is the technologically savvy younger brother to the process of cross breeding organisms, as we have done with domesticated dogs.
GMO's were developed to solve specific food problems. Specifically keeping up with the high demand on crops today. Today in modern agriculture, the majority of crops grown and supported by our government are corn and soy. Corn and soy are used to feed our industrially-raised animal and are processed to support our giant junk-food habit. Our world today demands a lot of crop resources, so GMO's were developed to increase the yield and minimize loss.
GMO's are create to withstand draught and be herbicide and pesticide resistant. Which all sounds wonderful. Imagine, you can literally soak our crops is harsh pesticides and herbicides, with minimal water throughout the season and our crops will not die. Instead our crops will absorb the chemicals as they grow. Whatever is not absorbed is left to run-off into nearby bodies of water.
That picture seems a little less wonderful. Our now chemically-soaked crops produce food that we either process for human consumption or feed to animals, that most humans will eat for breakfast, lunch and then dinner. Andrea Beaman, Holistic Health Coach, said in a lecture about pesticides "Pesticides are incredibly good at what they do. The best. What's the difference between the humans and pests? SIZE!"
Another concern is raised about GMO's. When new GMO's are developed they give rise to new proteins thought to contribute to the dramatic rise in food allergies! To break this part down without getting too science-y, think about your digestive tract like a country's border. It is acting on your behalf to protect you from the outside world day and night, trying to figure out what the *%^#& you just ate. We come pre-disposed to understand whole food and the naturally occurring proteins. They pass through the border with ease, no problems, no questions raised.
However, when a foreign protein is introduced our digestive tract goes on high alert. It calls in reinforcements in the way of digestive inflammation, which spreads throughout the body. If it is just that one protein and occasionally, you may not even notice that inflammation. But if you introduce many different new proteins constantly for all meals you body goes into full on war, attacking anything that remotely looks like a foreigner or a threat. This is when your gut hates you, your body's responses are classified as a food allergy and can get quite severe including hives, and even anaphylaxis in severe cases.
Currently GMO labeling is not mandated by the FDA. Meaning that consumers can't exercise the right to choose products that have been made without GMO's. However, there are institutions that provide certification of non-GMO products. Look for this label by the Non-GMO Project.
GMO's do have an impact on our earth and our food supply. I encourage everyone to educate themselves so you have the freedom to exercise choose for your plate. Do you currently notice if foods you buy are made with GMO's? Share your experiences!
Science in the News. "Nothing to Sneeze at: the Allergenicity of GMOs - Science in the News." Science in the News. 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/allergies-and-gmos/>
N.a. "The Non-GMO Project – Everyone Deserves an Informed Choice." Nongmoproject.org. n.d. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <https://www.nongmoproject.org/>
N.a. "Labeling & Nutrition > Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Foods Have or Have Not Been Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants." Fda.gov. 1 Jul. 2016. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm059098.htm>
ModernAg. "The Science Inside a GMO Seed." ModernAg. 1 Feb. 2017. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <https://modernag.org/innovation/the-science-inside-gmo-seeds/>
Kevin Bonham. "Allergic to Science-Proteins and Allergens in Our Genetically Engineered Food." Scientific American Blog Network. n.d. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/allergic-to-science-proteins-and-allergens-in-our-genetically-engineered-food/>
N.a. "Food Allergies | Healthy Schools | CDC." Cdc.gov. n.d. Web. 27 Jun. 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm>