What does GMO even stand for and why are they bad for you? There has been a lot of press lately surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and their potential effects on our health. I thought I would break down here what they are and what are some of the main foods you might not know are commonly genetically modified. As well as how GMOs affect the environment.
GMOs are by definition plants or animals that have been genetically engineered generally to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. They are also meant to increase yield, withstand drought and offer enhanced nutrition but these are yet to be proven as yet. DNA from bacteria, other plants or animals are used to modify the plant or animal to be brought to market.
Most nations do not consider GMOs safe. In more than 60 countries around the world including Australia, all countries part of the European Union and Japan have restrictions or bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the US however GMOs are approved for production and sale.
The most commonly genetically modified foods include corn, canola, soybeans and cotton. Papayas, chrysanthemums, poplars and spruce trees are also often modified along with milk, squash and zucchini. Genetically modified soy is often found in protein powders used by many as a vegan alternative to whey protein. Check out some other vegan friendly alternatives to soy protein.
So how do they affect the environment? Millions of extra kilos of pesticides. The six biggest producers of GMOs are also the biggest producers of chemical herbicides and insecticides. Crops are modified to be able to be immune to herbicide so that farmers can destroy weeds with without killing their crops. But weeds have grown more and more resistant to the herbicides and therefore farmers are needing to use more and more and stronger and stronger pesticides. These chemicals get into our soil and our water courses as well as being on the foods that we are purchasing every day.
GMOs are not labeled however they are prohibited in organic products.