As I write this article about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) it truly amazes me, despite all of the information out there, how many people do not understand what GMO’s are, the impact on their health, and more importantly taking intentional steps to avoid them. GMO foods have high levels of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Round Up, an herbicide). Studies show that glyphosate disrupts the good gut flora, inhibits detoxification, and increases the likelihood of food sensitivities such as a gluten intolerance. Want to learn more about glyphosate click here.
Are you concerned about your level of glyphosate? Consider having yourself tested through the Great Plains Laboratories click here.
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization that is committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. They are North America’s only third party verification for products produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance. They require that every single batch of major risk ingredients used in a verified product is tested before use, and is below their action threshold of 0.9%. To avoid GMO foods look for the Non-GMO Project label or purchase certified USDA organic foods. At this time, certified USDA organic foods cannot come from GMO plants.
A general definition of a GMO is when a small snippet or piece of genetic material, such as DNA, from one type of organism is artificially inserted into another organism. This is intentionally done in a laboratory. This is very different than hybrid plants where you cross a red flower with a white flower and get pink flowers. This can be done just by planting the two different colors of flowers in close proximity to each other. Keep in mind that genetic material is the “blueprint” or “instructions” for how an organism is created. For example, a person’s DNA will determine the color of their eyes, and whether you are male or female. Every living organism has its own unique set of genetic material. Mother Nature has safeguards in place to prevent cross over of genetic material between species (flowers and fish are different species for instance). This is why butterflies do not have flower petals growing from their heads. That would be ridiculous, right?
Well actually this is what has happened with some of our food crops. Monsanto has inserted the Bt gene from a bacterium into corn (two different species) to make it resistant to Round Up (an herbicide). This allows Round Up to be heavily sprayed on the corn without killing it, yet killing all other plants around it. Have you ever driven past a soybean field and noticed random stalks of corn growing throughout the field, but very few other plants? Both corn and soy have been genetically modified and are resistant to the Round Up. Similar genetic modifications have also happened with soybeans, canola, cotton (think cottonseed oil), alfalfa, zucchini and yellow summer squash, papaya, and sugar beets. According to the Non-GMO Project due to known instances of contamination rice, flax, wheat, and relatives of squash, beets, and canola may also be genetically modified.
GMO foods were introduced into the American food supply in 1996. In part due to heavy lobbying by the big agriculture companies, products that contain GMO ingredients do not currently have to be labeled in the United States. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outrights bans on the production and sale of GMOs.
There is strong evidence to suggest that GMO’s are contributing to the rise in food intolerances and sensitivities, gastrointestinal disorders, certain cancers, autism, environmental allergies, and other chronic illnesses. Not only do GMO’s impact our health, but they also negatively affect crops, insects, bees, fish, birds, and livestock. For more information about this topic, visit either the Non-GMO Project website or Jeffery Smith’s website.
To avoid GMO foods look for the Non-GMO Project label or the USDA organic label. At the Pantry we strive to carry many products that have one of these labels.