Organic is a common food label in the grocery store. Most people try to eat this type of food to live a healthier lifestyle. Organic foods are assumed genetically modified organism, or GMO, free. But is it really? A GMO is an organism in which its DNA has been altered or rearranged differently than its natural sequence through introduction of DNA from a different organism. This type of food manufacturing has been around since 1994 and has been rising in popularity ever since. GMOs have many benefits in agriculture, but also some negative health concerns. The problem with this is the uncertainty of how unhealthy GMOs are, and that many of these foods are not labeled for the consumer.
The major benefit in GMO foods has been an increase in crop production. Most GMO foods have drought resistant and insect resistant genes to aid in stable growth. Not only does this help farmers have a sustainable crop, but it also helps feed more people throughout the world. Even though these are exciting benefits, the negative affects are still unclear. Scientists really do not know the true effects on humans consuming GMOs. Many have tested on animals, in which inflammation and kidney problems have been noted. Some other problems raised were allergy concerns. For example, crops that are supposedly peanut-free can sometimes have DNA from nuts integrated into their genome for unspecified reasons. This raises concerns that foods specified as allergen free will have traces of allergen causing genes that could become expressed. Ashley Koff, who is a registered dietitian that critically studies GMOs, suggests not enough long term studies have been conducted to surely say GMOs are completely safe and healthy.
With so much uncertainty, labeling becomes an issue. There are no requirements to label GMOs in the United States. Many people think that GMOs should be labeled and it should be the consumer’s choice if they want to risk eating them or not. The benefits of GMOs are clear, but the unknown effects on humans remain blurred.
Posted by: Cara Murphy (3)