Genetically Modified Organisms
It’s inevitable that at some point, you wouldn’t hear or see people or specialists talking about the subject of genetically modified organisms, shortly known as GMOs. Genetically modified food is – or should be – a subject of main concern for each and every single one of us, because it is important to know exactly what we eat and how does the food we intake affect our bodies, organisms, health and eventually, our lives. Food is the first thing that comes in line when we think about how it is possible for us to survive, but in these days, food is full of chemicals and substances that do more harm to our bodies and organisms than good.
Nothing is fully or in a high percentage healthy and natural anymore. Everything we buy from shops and supermarkets is injected or filled with chemical substances than affect our health. Specialists know it, producers know it, sellers know it and we, as well, are fully aware of this fact. The thing is, most of us don’t do anything about it and we simply choose to consume what others sell us. We don’t ask questions, we’re simply grateful that we have something or so many things to eat.
But this should be a problem, because it is about our health and if we don’t care for it, then nobody does. And surely the producers don’t care whether you eat healthy or not, since their interest is to maintain the money flowing. There are a lot of things you should know about Genetically Modified Organisms and how does them affect your entire health and lifestyle. So consider this article the first step into a better knowledge about GMOs!
What is GMO?
A GMO is, in fact, a certain organism whose DNA has been altered or modified in some way or another through genetic engineering. The most common scenarios are the ones in which an organism’s DNA has been altered with the DNA from another one, either if the second is a plant, a virus, an animal, a bacterium or anything else. These second organisms are known as “transgenic” organisms.
Maybe you’ve heard before how tomatoes got their resistance to frost and freezing temperatures – their genes were altered with the antifreeze genes that belongs to a cold-water fish, named the winter flounder. Recently, The Food and Drug Administration gave its consent for the existence of the potatoes that don’t get bruised and the apples that don’t get brown.
These apples had their enzymes levels that were causing the browning reduced by a genetically engineered process. This is the main explanation for foods that had their foreign genes inserted in their genetic code – the producers did this for the benefits of a tastier, more nutritious and more resistant to diseases and droughts foods.
But one fact about GMOs all over the world is that they hold some potential risks for the humans, risks that include the harm of our organism or – on a more scary level – the potential for the modified organisms to inbreed with the natural organisms, leading to a possible extinction of the original organism, which wouldn’t be pleasant for us at all.
Another fact about the usage of the GMOs has to do with the agricultural crops, since at least 90% of the corn, canola, cotton, soy and sugar beets sold in the USA have suffered the process of the genetically engineered organisms.
No matter how many so-called benefits these kinds of foods may have, the truly and most important question in case is exactly how safe are these genetically modified organisms? As any other subject of interest, the healthy and safety aspect of the GMOs have their supporters and also their rejecters. On one hand, we have scientists or industry leaders that support the development and the production of GMOs, and on the other hand, we have scientists or industry leaders that reject them. Those who are against the GMOs think that these modified foods can cause a lot of damage to the environment and a lot of health problems and issues for the consumers.
In order to support their claims and beliefs, some of the anti-GMOs activist groups conducted studies and researches meant to provide some evidence of the bad usage of the GMOs on the consumers. So, the Institute for Responsible Technology discovered that these GMOs can be held responsible for health conditions, diseases or issues such as sterile and dead livestock, toxic or allergic reactions in people, sickness, and potential damage for each and every single organism studied in the lab animals.
There are plenty of anti-GMOs activist groups that agree with the Institute For Responsible Technology and they are doing their best to open people’s eyes about these kind of products.
On the other hand, the manufacturers of these GMOs plead that their products deliver incomparable benefits, such as: improving the yields for farmers, reducing the draws on the natural resources and also fossil fuels, providing nutritional benefits.
Another list of several facts about GMOs and genetically modified foods
When you’re buying something, you make sure to read the labels in order to rest assured that you’re eating something good, healthy and beneficial for you. The truth is, the labels on the products don’t always tell exactly what it is that the product is really made of. So, even if you read every label on every product you ever bought, you still don’t know the complete truth about it. Why? Because:
Fact no 1: there are plenty of companies – big companies – around the world that are paying a lot of money in order to keep you in the dark when it comes to GMOs. This means that they don’t exactly write the full truth in their products’ labels. Some of the ingredients are correct, but the rest is known just for them. Why would they do such a terrible thing, you’re probably wondering. Well, because:
Fact no 2: If you’d read that the product you’re buying contains GMOs, it is most likely that you’ll drop it and never buy it again. If that’s the case, then the manufacturers would stop selling and making profit. And they will cease to exist as a company. And the product will also cease to exist. And what would happen if we were suddenly left without our favorite yogurt or fruit or vegetable?
Fact no 3: Worldwide, there are some serious Anti-GMOs movement that people initiated out of pure wish of making other consumers like them realize the importance of what they’re actually eating. Whether they succeed or not, only time will tell.
Fact no 4: There is this distinction between hybrid plants and GMOs. It is believed that hybrid plants are “born” when there are two compatible plants that were bread, and since no DNA has been altered or modified, this is not a GMO. However, there are suspicious opinions that view a hybrid such as a GMO.
Fact no 5: Business is business and some GMO-free products are the best business model out there. Either large or small companies, they all want to make profit. Now, think about the power that organic foods have on the market at the present time. Every consumer wants to buy organic food, this is why farmers or ranchers are taking notes and start planning how to make a better profit by selling “organic foods”, either if they actually don’t.
Fact no 6: We, consumer, like to buy foods or products that claim to be “natural”. But here is the truth about any product on the market – there isn’t a single one product that is 100% natural or without GMOs. Even the most “natural” product out there isn’t truly GMO-free.
Fact no 7: There’s this inevitable crisis that we stumble across whenever we think or hear about the GMOs, since they are bad for our health. It is about the land crisis concerning the corn and the soy, which are two crops modified in order to tolerate the herbicides. But the fact is, we can’t quite avoid eating corn and soy completely, so we’re stuck on eating GMOs, whether we like it or not.
Considering all these, I think the bottom line for us all is just one: avoid GMOs as much as you can if you truly care about your health. We have plenty of reasons to do so, from the diseases that we might end up with to the lie that is served to us on every product label. At least they could tell us honestly what exactly is that’s in our food. Being informed is the best way to know what you can do in order to stay healthy. In the end, we all have the right to know what are our options and what we can do to maintain our health and take care of ourselves.