With all the hype surrounding GMOs, it’s hard not to wonder: what are they exactly? Well, the truth may actually scare you. If you’ve eaten anything today, then chances are that you’ve already put these into your body—and most likely without even knowing it.
First and foremost, a GMO—or genetically modified organism—is not a product of Mother Nature. It’s a product of science created to “enhance” the food that we eat and ultimately was created to increase the food supply due to the ever-growing population. By adding GMOs to produce, this provides brighter berries, hardier crops, and even seedless fruits. Sounds good, right? Not exactly. These “enhanced” crops are actually almost indestructible, and undoubtedly they are anything but natural.
GMOs have not only changed the way in which we eat, they have also changed the face of agriculture entirely. From fruits and veggies to processed foods, GMOs are in almost anything available on grocery store shelves today for those products made in the US. To date, GMOs can be found in roughly 80% of all the crops grown domestically in the United States. (article continues after infographic.)
Although GMOs have been deemed safe by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, in over 60 countries around the world there are outright bans and strict regulations on the production and sale of products containing GMOs. So why would the United States go against what so many other countries realize is potentially harmful and unsafe for consumption? Perhaps because the studies proving their safety were conducted by those very same corporations that created GMOs and highly profit from their sale.
This might make you think twice about eating things “Made in the USA” that are not organic, won’t it? Not only is the process of GMOs unnatural, it’s kind of scary to think you are consuming something that can be properly defined as “Frankenfood” by many scientists. According to organic regulations, they will not allow any food product to me labeled as organic if it was derived by use of genetic engineering–which hinders the natural conditions and growth processes of any food.
These strong crops that are growing now thanks to genetic engineering (GE) are nothing like the crops that grew just a generation ago, before GMOs were introduced in 1996. The crops now grown through the process of GE are practically herbicide tolerant. Here’s a short list of startling facts that may shock you, and hopefully get you to reach for those organic products on your next shopping venture:
- From 1996 to 2008, an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide was applied to GMO crops.
- Because GMOs can cross pollinate, non-GMO and organic farmers are desperately struggling to keep their crops pure.
- Since their introduction in 1996, food allergies (especially gluten-intolerance) has skyrocketed among the US population.
- GE crop production is highly increasing pesticide usage, thanks to the “superweeds” that grow around the plants, and in turn dramatically decreasing the US yield.