Genetically modified foods have been linked to a number of health and environmental dangers over the years. Frankly, many people simply don’t trust them, and this is for good reason. Although science offers data on both sides of the equation, GMOs have not been around long enough to call them safe with long-term use. Given the health problems that are already showing up, we should be kicking the practice of consuming GMOs.
Corporations are pushing GMOs more aggressively than ever; fortunately this is only a serious problem in North America, as most other places in the world have banned the production and sale of GMO products altogether.
When we make the choice to not consume these restructured foods, we are not only making more health-conscious choices for our own wellness, but we are also choosing to support the companies that are doing the work to ultimately end GMO food production once and for all. The Non GMO Project has put together an ever-updating list of GMO-free food brands so that you can check to see if the food you are eating or thinking of buying is GMO-free. Check out the full list here.
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been created by means of gene splicing techniques in the field of biotechnology. This experimental technology merges the DNA from different species, creating unstable and potentially dangerous combinations of plants, animals, bacteria and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Note: GMO practices are not the same as hybrid or crossbreeding; it is entirely different.
To make a GM plant, scientists need to isolate DNA from different organisms—bacteria, viruses, plants, and sometimes animals (or humans if the target gene is a human gene). They then recombine these genes biochemically in the lab to make a “gene construct,” which can consist of DNA from five to fifteen different sources. This gene construct is cloned in bacteria to make lots of copies, which are then isolated. Next, the copies are shot into embryonic plant tissue (microprojectile bombardment), or moved into plant tissue via a particular bacterium (Agrobacterium) that acts as a vector. After getting the construct copies into the embryonic plant tissue, whole plants are regenerated. Only a few plants out of many hundreds will turn out to grow normally and exhibit the desired trait—such as herbicide resistance. - Craig Holdrege, director of The Nature Institute.“The difference is pretty large. In regular cross pollination, the species being crossed have to be related . . . basically respecting their common evolutionary origin. But with GMOs, you can take any gene from any species and splice it into a crop. So you get fish genes in tomatoes or the like.” Joe Mendelson, director of the Center for Food Safety
Learn more about GMOs here.
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