Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

By: Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutrition Instructor

I have always been very concerned with the food supply and engineering that occurs with our foods. I think back to sitting in my biochemistry lab in undergraduate school and being stunned at the other students thinking it was great that we could take DNA and manipulate it to a different hybrid food to eat. I have continued to notice that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being discussed with the public. It is very important for the public to have a basic understanding of what is a GMO and what to look for how to read a label in relationship to a GMO.

Generally speaking, genetically modified organisms can be plants/animals that have been genetically altered by engineering. These species cannot occur naturally in the environment.  There has been talk of health and environment problems due to GMO foods in the United States. In many countries, GMO have been banned for decades. The majority of foods are modified and possibly up to about 80% of foods have GMO products found within them.

Foods that have been identified as high risk GMO foods are but are not limited to:
·         Corn
·         Canola
·         Soy
·         Sugar Beets
·         Zucchini
·         Yellow Squash

Additionally, some common foods that have been genetically modified within the last 20 years include tomatoes, potatoes, salmon, and pigs.

You ask, how do I know if something is GMO free? Currently, there are some labels to look for on a food package.  Additionally, organic food may not utilize GMO products. Farmers must prove their crops/animals are GMO free if they are claiming the food is organic. 

Overall, GMO products are continuing to be in the spotlight and concerns are being addressed by many.


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