Would You Eat Genetically Modified Produce???

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genes Your answer to the question in my title is probably “no”, right?  Why would you want to eat genetically modified food?  Sounds kinda weird, huh?  But, I’ll bet you anything that you do eat genetically modified food (GMOs).  And you probably ate some today too.  Don’t believe me?  Over 70% of the processed foods in the US use genetically modified ingredients (1).  Yup – 70%.  Most of that is coming from corn, soy, alfalfa and sugar beets (great source of added sugar in processed foods).  Even animals have been genetically altered.  Happily surprised?

Well, before you make any official decisions on your like or dislike of GMO stuff, let’s do a quick science review.  That way you have a full understanding of what’s going on here.  GMOs are products of what’s called recombinant DNA technology.  This is just the intentional modification of genes of specific organisms (2).  Scientists use the natural process of DNA formation to “mix and match” genes in order to come up with a beneficial combination.  They then insert the newly modified gene DNA into a whatever it is they want to enhance – let’s say a corn cell.  Once inserted the new cell takes in the gene DNA and adds it to their own. The result?  Let’s use the corn cell again – this newly engineered corn cell now has the ability to release a toxin that kills insects, but is not harmful to humans.  Very interesting technology!
corn

So is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Well for me personally, the jury is still out.  Without GMO technology food costs would be sky high – like triple or quadruple what they are now.  This technology, although scary to read, gives plants the ability to be resistant to insects, pests and plant infections.  And makes animals, like salmon, grow a lot bigger, a lot faster (whew, thank God I’m a vegetarian!).  This equals more options in the grocery store at affordable prices for me.  At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of messing with what nature made.  I feel like plants and animals are made the way they are for a reason.  But I also like to get cheap produce at my store…Hmmmm
dollarsign

Well, what about the health implications?  Are there any?  A lot of people will say no.  And a lot of people will say yes.  I say, there is no sound science out there saying one thing or another.  Plus, GMO foods have been around for a long, long time.  And you don’t see people getting sick left and right from these foods.  I promise.  Anyways, if anything was found to be unsafe, you’d see it in the news faster than you can say genetically modified foods.

Ultimately the choice is up to you.  I just want you to be educated about your food, where it comes from and how its made.  That’s important.  If you’re not all about GMO foods, there are plenty of places to find products and produce that are completely GMO free.  Like Trader Joe’s for example.  But click this link for a complete list.  Also, all 100% certified organic foods are not allowed to use GMO products, so that’s always a good bet too.  Whatever you decide I hope you’ve learned a little something interesting from this post and can go shopping and know exactly what you’re buying!

You tell me!  Do you buy GMO products?  Are you for or against GMO products?  What advantages/disadvantages to you see with the use of this technology?

1.  http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/search/gmo
2.  “Microbiology with Diseases by Taxonomy.”  Third Edition.  Robert W. Bauman

2 Comments

  1. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    April 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I try my best to avoid GMO foods, but I’m not obsessive about it. I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there about this issue, which is a shame. I often get emails and comments along the lines of, “Why do you cook with tofu? All soy sold in the US is GMO!” Well, no, it’s not. :/ I also see a lot of stuff being passed around Facebook that seems to be stretching facts, misinterpreting research, etc.

    • mewinebrenner

      April 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      Yea me too. The concept kinda freaks me out. Messing with the DNA of foods seems a little hinky. But I really don’t think my health is affect all that much by eating a few processed foods on occasion.

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