So what’s GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. I’m no scientist, but from what I gather, in genetic modification or engineering of plants, one or more genes from the DNA of one organism is removed and recombined into the DNA of the plant to be altered.
Why would scientists put new DNA into plants that we are eating?
They do it supposedly for some scientific benefit. Here’s an example. Genetic engineers have transferred genes from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt into the DNA of corn. Bt is a soil-dwelling bacterium, commonly used as a biological pesticide. Bt genes have a protein that kills insects. The alleged scientific benefit is that transferring the Bt genes into the corn will allow the corn to produce its own pesticide.
Sounds reasonable, so what’s the problem with that?
Lots! One huge problem is that scientist have no clue how these genetically engineered species, labeled as food, will impact our health. Again, I am no scientist, but from what I understand, the procedure for inserting these genes into the DNA of a plant is unsystematic. Basically, they just put it in. The scientists have no idea where the genes go. They do not know if it is disrupting the functioning of other genes and perhaps creating brand new proteins that have never been in our foods before. These unknown proteins could in turn create toxins, new allergens and only God knows what else. Currently, we are unknowingly eating genetically engineered foods, and at this time, no one fully knows how these foods will interact in our body overtime or how they will impact the environment and the eco system.
Here’s the good news
There’s an app for that: ShopNoGMO. It is designed to be used while shopping to help you find the NO GMO foods.
I recently attended the Natural Products Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland, Expo East, and noticed that many of the manufacturers attending proudly displayed their new third party verification – "Non GMO Project Verified." And, some that were awaiting verification displayed signs that said “Verification in Process."
I am pleased to see some movement in the industry without legislation. Hopefully the legislation will follow. California is leading the way with Proposition 37, a controversial ballot initiative requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. Two thumbs up for California; may the force be with those of you championing the Prop 37. Complete text of Proposition 37, titled Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.
I support any initiative that, at a minimal, will allow consumers to decide whether they want to digest foods that are potentially harmful.
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