There is a lot of debate about the safety of GMOs in our food. Much of this debate stems from confusion about what GMOs are, and whether or not they are harmful to our health when consumed.
To help clear things up and gain a better understanding of GMOs, let’s address some of the basics.
What does GMO stand for in Food?
“GMO” stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms.” When it refers to ingredients or a food product, a GMO classification means that the food has been genetically engineered.
About a 20 years ago, there weren’t many GMO crops. Today, there are about 165 million acres containing GMO crops. The purpose of a GMO crop isn’t necessarily to produce a healthier food, but rather to produce a crop that is more resistant to the effects of disease, weather, insects, and other factors that can inhibit a crop’s ability to survive.
What Does Non-GMO Mean?
Non-GMO applies to any foods or ingredients that have not been genetically modified. There are many GMO products on supermarket shelves that you might not be aware of unless you read the ingredient labels. However, many GMO-free foods now make a point of labeling their products as non-GMO, as there is a large debate about the overall health risks associated with GMO vs. non-GMO foods.
Are All Organic Products GMO-Free?
Yes, eating 100% certified organic products ensures that you are consuming GMO-free foods. However, the inverse is not true of the difference between organic and non-GMO foods. Note that the non-GMO meaning doesn’t include a product’s organic status — it simply means that the food hasn’t been genetically modified.
GMO vs. Non-GMO—Why Eat Non-GMO?
Many health advocates recommend eating only organic and non-GMO foods. One of the main reasons it is recommended that you avoid GMO products is that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the long-term health effects of consuming GMO products. Studies have shown an increase in health problems since the introduction of GMOs in 1996, and food allergies have also increased.
GMOs also tend to contaminate other non-GMO crops, and are often doused with herbicides and other toxins, which are bad for both the environment and your health.
What GMO Crops Are Approved to Grow in the US?
GMO crops are grown all over the world, and many of them right in the United States, where government oversight is rather lax concerning GMO vs. non-GMO foods. Some of the GMO products from in the United States include:
- “Arctic” apple
- “Innate” potato
- Sugar beets
- Yellow “crook neck” squash
Where to Get non-GMO Food
You can certainly grow your own non-GMO foods, or shop locally at farmer’s markets if the vendors can assure you that their products are organic and GMO-free.
There are plenty of non-GMO products in supermarkets and grocery stores. All organic products are GMO-free, but if you aren’t buying everything organic, simply look for GMO-free foods that are labeled “GMO-free” or list non-GMO ingredients on the label. Some brands also utilize only non-GMO ingredients, such as Beetnik Foods.
Consider trying some of Beetnik Foods’ selection of 100% organic and non-GMO products. Their line of frozen organic meals are sold in many supermarkets, and they are also ideal for many diets and to aid in weight loss.