On Monday's I receive a great e-mail from Food For Health Communications Blog Called Fresh Start Mondays. Below is a section from a blog article GMOs: A Health Distractor? written by Judy Doherty. Often when we read information about eating healthy GMOs are mentioned. I felt this article gave some great information about the safety of our food supply.
What Are GMOs?
modified organisms — called GMOs or GMs for short — are foods that have
had their genes altered in some way. They can also be referred to
as genetically engineered (GE) foods.
Genetic alterations can be performed in order to change the features
of a food, removing allergens or helping the plant resist drought or
disease. According to the Washington State Department of Health, “The most common engineered crops are soybean, corn, canola and cotton oil.” Medline Plus
maintains, “Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn, and soybeans have been
genetically altered through biotechnology. Many more foods contain
engineered ingredients and more are being developed.”
What Are The Effects of GMOs on Health?
The National Institutes of Health
assert, “Genetically engineered foods are generally regarded as safe.
There has not been enough testing, however, to ensure complete safety.
There are no reports of illness or injury due to genetically engineered
GMOs are overseen and monitored by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US
Department of Agriculture (USDA). Because of this scrutiny by so many
government agencies, “GM plants undergo extensive safety testing prior
to commercialization” (source).
The study, Genetically modified plants and human health
by Suzie Key, Julian K-C Ma, and Pascal MW Drake, reveals that “There
is little documented evidence that GM crops are potentially toxic.”
Another study, Public health issues related with the consumption of food obtained from genetically modified organisms
by A Paparini and V Romano-Spica makes similar assertions, maintaining
“Despite no described medical condition being directly associated with a
diet including approved GM crops in large exposed populations such as
300,000,000 Americans and a billion Chinese, public opinion seems to
look at this new technology with either growing concern or even
disapproval.” That sentiment is echoed in a GMO FAQ sheet,
which claims, “GMOs have been a part of the American diet since the
mid-1990s. There are no links to specific health problems (Key, Ma,
& Drake, 2008). However, some people worry that eating GMOs could be
bad for your health.” This sheet
takes the thought further, revealing that “Most studies say that eating
GMOs pose no increased health risk. Other studies recommend more
testing in order to be sure.”
We’re all in favor of more testing — further analysis may shed
additional light on whether GMOs are safe for human consumption.
However, do GMOs merit this much concern and discussion when a large
body of evidence indicates that they are not the root causes of health
How Can I Find GMOs? How Can I Avoid Them?
The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy organic foods, which cannot contain them.
According to a blog post from the USDA,
“The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms
(GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer
can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and
an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the
USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t
using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with
prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.”
When it comes to food labels, as of the date of this article’s
publication, manufacturers are not required to disclose whether they use
GMOs in their products. In fact, “The FDA requires labeling of GMOs
only if the product is significantly different from the original food in
nutrition, safety, and composition” (source). Manufacturers can voluntarily label their products, but it appears as though that process is not currently tightly regulated.
Should I Worry about GMOs?
all the research I did, I found that I personally don’t see anything
wrong with GMOs. Instead, I believe that rather than making sure their
foods are GMO-free, most people just have to stop eating so much
processed food, replacing those items with fruits, vegetables, and other
whole foods. After all, who can argue about GMOs while eating a steady
diet of fatty burgers and packaged cookies?
It’s time to change the conversation from
“GMOs-as-the-most-dangerous-foods” and instead discuss the elements that
have been much more closely linked to chronic disease — added sugars,
saturated fats, excess sodium, etc. There’s a lot more science to back