Consumer demand is growing for accurate information about organic food vs. genetically modified food. The interest in natural, organic food is evidenced by the addition of food aisles in major grocery chains that are stocked with a wide selection of organic food brands.
Up until recently, if you wanted to eat food that was grown organically, you had to stop in at your local health food store or buy organic food online.
As more people become aware of the often subtle appearance of genetically modified food (GM) products that are lining grocery shelves, the interest in natural, organic nutrition is quickly growing.
The Organic Food vs. Genetically Modified Food Controversy
What’s the big deal?
Well, did you know that about 80 percent of all soybeans that are produced by U.S. farmers are genetically engineered to endure herbicide treatments that are meant to kill off weeds among the crops?
Were you also aware of the fact that over half of all the processed foods that are purchased at grocery stores include some genetically engineered food component like corn, that has smal amounts of pesticide in every cell?
Watch out for foods that claim to be organic, but may not truly be totally organic. In fact, the only truly organic food is that which carries the label “certified organic.”
Genetically modified foods are everywhere you turn. They are part of packaged food products, fast foods, drinks and even in some of the so called “natural” products that people consume on a daily basis.
Even fresh produce is increasingly genetically modified to make tomatoes bigger, fruits last longer and vegetables more pest resistant.
Do GMO foods pose any health risks?
The short answer is…who knows for sure? Frankly, the jury is still out on whether or not genetically engineered foods are truly safe for human consumption.
But early research as well as many public health experts believe that caution should be taken in introducing massive amounts of this new food source to the public without long term scientific proof as to its safety and nutritional value.
The 3 main health concerns when investigating modified foods is:
- Their risk of provoking allergic reactions in humans
- The risk of creating antibiotic resistance in humans
- The risk of outcrossing, which is the transfer of modified genes into related conventional or wild crops
All of these risks are a result of the modification of the natural genes associated with each product.
Even though GM foods from most countries have passed global risk assessments for import and export commerce, there is still a concern about the long-term health issues that may be associated with genetically modified nutrition that is created by biotechnology.
How can I avoid genetically engineered food?
The only way to really avoid eating modified foods is to either grow it yourself, or purchase food that is certified organic. Even if you grow it yourself, you will need to make sure that the seeds you use have not been modified by biotechnology.
Many people resort to locating heirloom seeds that are guaranteed not to have been modified and are in the natural genetic state from years past.
How to know what foods are really organic?
For most people, buying organic food from a reputable source is the best solution. Just remember, no matter where you find food that is advertised as organic, make sure to find a label that states it is certified organic. That’s the real deal.