Do you have any idea how much of what you eat each day has been made from genetically modified organisms? Though I try to eat
organic, like most Americans I’ve been consuming genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO) foods for the past
It’s hard not to: 70 percent of our corn farmland and 93 percent of soy farmland are planted with crops genetically
engineered to resist pests and herbicides and increase crop yields. And in the next few years new science may provide
genetically modified apples that don’t turn brown, rice that helps build up vitamin A, even an “Enviropig” which produces
less phosphorus in its manure. Find out more about the latest
news on these and more common genetically modified foods including tomatoes, canola and sugar beets.
What do you think: are genetically modified foods good or bad for our planet? Click here to join the discussion.
And as early as 2012, you may be able to buy a GE super salmon that grows to maturity in just two years. As John McQuaid
writes in his special report,
“The Future of Food,” in the March/April issue of EatingWell Magazine
, “As science. this is pretty cool.”
The science geek in me is intrigued by these new foods and wants to believe they will improve the world. Theoretically,
genetically modified crops will allow us to feed more people more nutritious food, using less land and fewer pesticides or
The health freak in me is encouraged by the fact that to date there has been no widely accepted scientific link between
genetically modified foods and human health problems.
And the nature lover in me is cautiously optimistic: I’d like to think that genetically modified salmon, farmed in inland
pens, might alleviate pressure on depleted wild stocks from both overfishing and the diseases currently being spread by
But that’s assuming all goes right. And that the businesses that own the rights to these projects act responsibly, keeping
the health of both humans and environment in mind, and that there’s no harm done to organic farms or traditional fishing
practices. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Last year a judge put a ban on planting genetically modified sugar beets, which a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food
Safety and the Sierra Club claims can contaminate organic crops. That decision was reversed this past March. Now organic
farmers are concerned that genetically engineered sugar beets as well as the new genetically modified alfalfa(approved, or
‘deregulated’) this past spring are going to contaminate non-genetically modified crops. And over the past few months rice
farmers in five states have been reaching settlements with Bayer CropScience over an incident in 2006 when plots of Bayer’s
experimental genetically modified rice contaminated their crops.
I am all for science and believe the mistakes or misconduct of some companies should not damn or disrupt all research, but
they should make us pause and consider the potential long-term impacts. They should make us think more carefully about where
our food comes from and how it is produced.
And consumers should have the right to know whether what they are eating has been genetically engineered or modified. At
present, there are no laws requiring labeling, but there are three ways to know that your food is not genetically
Buy Organic: The “USDA certified organic” label is a guarantee the food you buy was grown or
made without any genetic modification to its ingredients.
Don’t Miss: 12 Foods
You Should Buy Organic
Look for the Non-GMO Label: This relatively new label is gaining in popularity (it’s now on
more than 900 products, including much of Whole Foods’s 365 Everyday Value brand) and comes with a certification that the
product is GMO-free, but not necessarily organic.
Choose rBST- or rBGH-Free Milk: Though cows are not (yet) genetically engineered, many are
being injected with a genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatotropin
(rBST) to boost milk production.
Here are 4 genetically modified foods you’re likely eating today and 4 genetically modified foods you might eat tomorrow:
- Genetically Modified Food of Today: Soybeans
Related: How Healthy Is Soy,
- Genetically Modified Food of Today: Corn
or Fact: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Worse for You Than Sugar? Find out
- Genetically Modified Food of Today: Sugar Beets
- Genetically Modified Food of Today: Canola
- Genetically Modified Food of Tomorrow: Salmon
- Genetically Modified Food of Tomorrow: Pigs
- Genetically Modified Food of Tomorrow: Golden rice
- Genetically Modified Food of Tomorrow:Apples
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