I hear a lot of talk about GMO and I don’t know what to make of it. GMO refers to Genetically Modified Organisms. Basically, scientists modify the genes of an existing plant or animal to improve a feature that is beneficial to humans.
People think GMO is something that is in the future but in fact GMO has been around for over a decade. 46% of all soybeans grown in the world today are GMO soybeans. I hear from my friends that Europe has a no-GMO policy but in fact four GMO products are currently approved in Europe. Soybeans and sweet corn are two of the approved products. Europe stopped issuing new approvals back in 1998, citing the need for further study.
For my part I believe in eating Organic for the most high risk products, which means no-GMO. We eat organic for the dirty 12, the produce with the most pesticides.
Awareness of GMO is really growing, with October 2010 being “non-GMO month” and 10 October 2010 ’10-10-10′ being “World non-GMOday”.
I think it is important to be aware of GMO foods, because we are tinkering with the basic building blocks of our food supply. We need to look at what exactly is being changed in the product, and how it will affect the children who consume this product and how it affects nature. There is concern that eating GMO food can have possible side effects such as allergies, antibiotic resistance, and nutritional problems especially in children whose developing bodies are more susceptible. Saving a few pennies per pound is not worth it if we end up with side effects like these environmental problems.
All of this comes down to money: producers want to keep prices steady in the face of increasing costs of production. What we have to really do is figure out whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
One way you can keep yourself informed is by visiting Delicious Living magazine, this is a great site that talks about GMO and its attendant risks.