what you need to know about GMOs

kiwi-orangeRecently, I listened to an interview with Jeffrey Smith. He is passionate about exposing the dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

I thought I already had a pretty good understanding of genetically modified foods, but I was really shocked, so I thought I would have to share some of what I’ve learned.

What is Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM)?

Genetic engineering/modification is a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. This concept of genetic modification brings about alterations in genetic makeup and in the properties of the organism developed.

“Genetic engineering is highly mutagenic and leads to unpredictable changes in the DNA and the proteins produced by the GMO that may lead to toxic or allergic reactions.” ~ Jeffrey Smith

Crops were originally genetically modified to make them “insect/pest/weed-resistant”, decreasing the need for pesticides. Maybe this is a good thing, right? Well, maybe not…

In Australia, all GM foods intended for sale in Australia and New Zealand must undergo a “safety evaluation” by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). According to their website, FSANZ will not approve a GM food unless it is “safe to eat”.

Whilst there may not be immediate side effects from consuming GM food, the long term effects might actually be really scary.  To begin with, they have been found to upset the gut-flora in our digestive tract (and you know how big on gut-flora I am!). There are also links to allergic reactions, liver problems, degenerative diseases, birth defects, immune reactions, and viral and bacterial infections. For a full list (including associated research), visit: http://www.raw-wisdom.com/50harmful.

There is also a lot of discussion around harmful effects on our environment. GM crops, and their associated herbicides, can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They also reduce bio-diversity and pollute water resources.

And what is the most scary part? We don’t enforce GM labelling in Australia! So even if you wanted to take a stand and stop purchasing GM products, it’s really difficult to work out how. Did you know, approximately 70% of the food on our supermarket shelves would require a label if we had full GM labelling because they contain GM derived ingredients.

In Australia, South Australia is the only state that has banned growing GM foods, but it’s free reign in other states. Whilst the documentary below is based out of the US, it will open your eyes to the effects of consuming GM foods.

What’s the solution?

Try organic! Organic farming methods prohibit genetic engineering and modification, but labelling can make it a little difficult to monitor.

  • 100% certified organic means GMO-free
  • Certified organic means 95% of ingredients (by weight, excluding water and salt) are organic and non-GMO, but 5% can come from an approved list of ingredients that are generally non-GMO, but loopholes allow some GM foods onto this list
  • Made with organic ingredients means up to 70% of ingredients are organic and GMO-free

Source: http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/

To learn more about GM foods in Australia, these two websites are FULL of information related to Australia:

http://www.madge.org.au/

http://www.truefood.org.au/

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