GMO or a Genetically Modified Organism is an organism that has had its genetics altered to a state that would not occur naturally. Genes are transferred from one organism to another.
We genetically modify foods to help grow food crops. They are used to help make plants resistant to pesticides and reduce attacks from pests and disease, meaning we are using a lot less insecticides. There is improved quality and product of the crop. Farmers who have GM crop scan spray harsh chemicals that will kill everything in the area except the GM food crop. This is a huge advantage for under developed countries and those experiencing famine. Ideally this should allow us to feed the world as we create climate and pest resistant crops. We can even add nutrients such as protein and vitamins to the crops to make them more nutritional. However, if you look at current food wastage across the globe, you'd find we can already feed the world over, and then some!
Genetically modifying crops has an impact on the price of food. Crops are produced for a lot less money. They are perceived as a better product, with greater benefit (such a nutritional value) at a lower price. This is possible due to an increased level of crop production, lower costs on insecticides, pesticides and herbicides due to the resistant plant.
My concern with this is that we are then eating this food product and it is digested in our systems. Is it then killing and doing damage internally to our bodies? It’s great that we are using less chemical spray on the plant, but what is that genetic modification doing to us? Are these GM crops a contributing factor the obesity epidemic and the lack of health in the general population today, especially in western society? Is the gut compromised by these foods? Is it contributing to leaky gut and the high number of autoimmune diseases found today?
I feel we are part of a large experiment. There are simply too many unanswered questions for my liking. Are we creating new toxins? Are we increasing allergens in previously safe food? We playing with the environment and with nature. Have we impacted the bee and butterfly population? Are we reducing natural wild plants and conventional crops by dominating with GMO crops? I feel like we are destroying ecosystems and we are yet to find out the impact of our science.
GM labelling in Australia is not about food safety, it is about helping consumers make an informed decision. According to the Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand, all GM foods, additives and processing aids require the words “genetically modified”. However you will notice, highly refined foods such as oils obtained from GM canola crops and corn syrup do not need labelling. Take-away shops, cafe’s and restaurants are also exempt from labelling. This I believe makes it very confusing for the individual.
HOW TO AVOID GM FOODS?
- Exclude as much pre-packaged and processed foods from your diet as possible as these are usually high in genetically modified ingredients. Look for labels that say "Non GMO" or "GMO Free".
- Purchase organic foods. Organic foods are not allowed to contain any GMOs, which make them safe in my mind.
- Buy grass fed meat. If the cattle have been fed grain, it is highly likely that it is GM grain and by ingesting that meat, you will also be ingesting it's food supply.
- Shop at a local farmer's market. Most GM food is from large industrial farmers who are supplying big food chain stores or packaged goods. You can always discuss produce with the farmer at the local farmer's markets.
- Have a veggie garden. Grow your own food! As long as you know the seeds you purchase as not GM, then it can be fun to just walk outside and pick produce as required.
- Become familiar with the high risk crops such as corn, cotton, soy, canola and sugar beet. Sugar beet produces any sugar that is not 100% cane sugar and is a high GMO product.
- Check dairy products as many cows are given GM hormones and are fed GM grains.
- Check which oils are used for frying. It is usually corn, canola, cottonseed or grapeseed which are all GM and big no no's for high heat. Try using ghee or tallow or brellow at home for all frying.