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Is It Really Possible To Avoid GMO Food?

Updated on January 21, 2015

What Is GMO Food?

What is GMO food?

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. Some companies are taking DNA from one organism and introducing it to other organisms to modify the growth structure in the DNA chain to add what they call benefits to the plant.

A Little History

If you do a little research and reading you can find some interesting facts about genetically modified organism history. I started on Wikipedia, genetically modified food, to get a background. In 1946 scientists learned that DNA can be transferred between organisms. With that knowledge on deck in 1983 the first genetically modified plant was produced. It was an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. Reading further and doing more research I was able to find out from the Colorado State University website, under their transgenic crops history, that the first plant was genetically modified by “The Washington University group, headed by Mary-Dell Chilton and was resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin.” Afterward, “Jeff Schell and Marc Van Montagu, scientists from Belgium, had produced tobacco plants that were resistant to kanamycin and to methotrexate, a drug used to treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.” From this point on the ability to genetically modify plants took off and has now become a global issue.


What Does This Mean?

According to the Consumer Reports website an article “Where GMOs Hide In Your Food”, 70 percent of Americans do not want GMO's in their food. However, they are showing up in all sorts of our foods, even those labeled Natural. Genetically modified organisms have been found in breakfast cereal, infant formula, and chips. This is because most of the corn, soybeans and sugar beets grown today are genetically modified. In many countries, over sixty of them, foods are required to be labeled if they use genetically modified engineering.

There can be effects of eating foods that are genetically modified. Although, the United States federal government has not mandated that genetically modified foods be labeled safe for consumption. In some animal testing, results have shown that genetically modified foods can cause liver and kidney damage and immune system deficiency. In an article from the website Natural News, “7 Ways ways GMO toxicity affects animals, plants and soil”, There are other health issues like cancer and digestion problems to be concerned about regarding GMO food.


Growing Your Own Food

It seems with the issues at hand regarding GMO food, people are wanting to become more self-sufficient and grow their own food. That seems like a valid idea and a great way to avoid ingesting ingredients that could be harmful. Buying organic and heirloom seeds to plant in your own gardens would allow you to grow food that you know is safe. However, GMO companies, such as Monsanto are buying heirloom organic seed companies according to an article I read on the website The Healthy Economist, "The Four Steps Required To Keep Monsanto Out Of Your Garden". Once was an easy solution, to preventing genetically modified organisms out of your home, has now become a little more difficult for people that grow their own produce. Even if we find truly organic seed we still face the problem with planting medium such as mulch and compost.

Farmers that raise livestock have been feeding their animals grain, corn and feed that has been grown from genetically modified plants. The animals ingest this food and the results are showing up in the compost and manure and mulch we buy for our gardens. More and more farmers are using Non-GMO livestock feed and are finding that they are seeing better results with their animals. An article at the website Non-GMO report, “Farmers report better animal health with non-GMO feed”, indicated that farmers were seeing health issues in their livestock and there were positive results after switching them to non-genetically modified feed. There are more and more small feed stores offering Non-GMO feed for the small scale farm and homestead consumers. This allows people to be more self-reliant and can grow vegetables and raise animals to avoid eating GMO food.


Other Issues

Along with plants and livestock that are being affected by genetically modified organisms, there are other issues such as the decline in bees, super weeds and super bugs that are resistant due to the insecticides and herbicides that are being introduced into plant DNA to make plants resistant. Our soil is being affected when these plants are grown year after year. The decline in bees has been studied and linked to GMO's. According to Organic Consumers website, an article titled “GMOs Are Killing the Bees, Butterflies, Birds and . . . ?” Indicates that neonicotinoids are being introduced into crops and seeds as a pesticide and herbicide and it's affecting the bee population as well as birds and butterflies.


Where Can I buy Organic Seed?

There are sources where organic seed can be purchased and like mentioned before Non-GMO livestock feed is being offered at more and more places around the country. Even small town feed stores are seeing the importance of offering the feed and are doing so to please their small farm and homestead customers.

When buying seed, look for companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. You can find a list of companies on their Safe Seed Resource List at the website Council For Responsible Genetics. Or you can use the information from the website Non-GMO Sourcebook that will list Non-GMO companies worldwide.

In Conclusion

It can be possible to avoid a lot of GMO food if you are willing to do the hard work. Becoming more self-sustainable and raising your own meat and growing your own produce is possible and you can keep genetically modified organisms out of the food you produce. However, avoiding it completely might not be possible since so many items in our grocery stores are made with genetically modified corn, soybean and sugar. Pushing for GMO labeling in the United States needs to be a top priority by consumers.

How Do You Feel About GMO Food?

Do you worry about GMO food and how it affects you?

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