What’s the Deal with GMO’s?

“GMO” = Genetically Modified Organism

In the short, GMO refers to a laboratory process in which a “desirable gene” from one species is extracted and transferred to a completely different species. The result is a species that now has an altered genetic make-up with a so called desirable trait. Some examples include; anti-freeze tomatoes, plants that can with stand heavy pesticides, or an artificial hormone injected into dairy cows to make them produce more milk.

 

The 4 GMO crops that are approved to be grown in Canada include:

 

Canola
Corn
Soy
Sugar Beets

 

The 4 GMO crops that have been approved to be imported into Canada include:

 

Dairy
Cotton
Squash
Papaya

 

Although these crops might not sound like they are apart of your everyday consumption… there are many hidden sources of them that you might not think of:

Where they can be found in

Corn

High fructose corn syrup, corn flakes, corn chips, corn starch, sweeteners (glucose, fructose), corn oil, [eggs, milk, meat]- via animal feed

Canola

Canola oil: used in commercial baking, cooking, and frying. Found in some chips, crackers, French fries, cookies, and baked goods. Also found in eggs, milk, and meat

Soy

Soy protein, soy oil, soy lecithin, soy milks, tofu, soy yogurts, soy puddings, soy sauce, meat (feed for animals)

Sugar Beets

Sugar…most sugar the general population buys is derived from sugar beets, meaning if you are not buying organic sugar with the source specified (i.e. coconut/cane, etc) it is likely GMO. Keep in mind "sugar beets" are a special type of beets and different from the usual beets you grow in your garden or buy from the grocery store. 

 

So, what is the problem with altering a crops genetic make-up?

  1. Humans are attempting to mess with mother nature. Who knows what long-term consequences this can have on the bio diversity of our planet?
  2. We are creating foreign organism that our bodies potentially will be unable to recognize. This can increase allergies or other severe health concerns for humans such as autoimmune conditions, cancer, and many others.  
  3. GMO’s increase herbicide use as many plants become resistant
  4. Potential creation of “super weeds” as GM crops might pass on their “herbicide tolerant genes” to weeds.
  5. GM crops and their associated herbicides have been seen to harm other wildlife causing birth defects and organ damage- greatly affecting the population of our pollinators
  6. GMO’s do not solve any of the underlying problems in our world such as inequality, climate change, and imbalanced distribution of resources- they merely try and cover them up (ex. Golden rice fail)
  7. NOT enough research has been done on them!! The studies done have been funded by the companies who have created them (ex. Monsanto)

 

What can you do?

  1. Grow your own food… be sure to buy organic seeds ☺
  2. Buy organic whenever possible…Especially from farmer’s markets. Organic means no pesticide usage and the crops do not come from GMO seeds.

  3. Look for the “NON GMO Project Verified” labels on the foods you buy
  4. Buy local as best you can...remember canola, soy, corn, and beet are the GMO crops approved in Canada at the moment that you need to be aware of.
  5. Check labels for potentially hidden sources of GMO’s (if it has one of the 8 GM crops and isn’t labeled organic, chances are it is GMO)
  6. Avoid processed foods that contain corn, canola, sugar, dairy ingredients and soy

Remember: every action and purchase you make says something about the way you want the world to be. We all need to be a part of the change!