What’s all the buzz about GMOs?

With the election quickly approaching the buzz about GMO is increasing by the day.    Prop 37 in California could make a revolutionary change in our food.  But do you even know what a GMO is?   I’m finding that a lot of people don’t.   And I’m talking about REALLY smart people.

So what is a GMO?

A GMO is a genetically modified organism.   GMOs are made by combining or “splicing” the DNA of two unrelated organisms together.     No, I’m not talking about cross pollination to create a new variety of apple.   What I’m talking about is taking the DNA from a fish and inserting into the DNA of a tomato to make it more cold resistant.   No, I’m not kidding.

Now that tomato didn’t stay around long.  It had other issues that caused it to be pulled of the market (it didn’t hold up under shipping).    But this same technique is constantly used to build herbicides and pesticides into our food.   Yep, there’s corn out there that has bug killer built in.    (insert collective EWWW!)

Here are a couple great sites with in-depth explanations of GMOs:

NON GMO Project
CA Right to Know

Crops with the highest levels of GMOs include corn, soy, canola and sugar beets.   It’s estimated that up to 80% of conventionally processed food (anything in a package)  contains GMOs.      Are GMOs safe?    The jury’s still out and there’s lots of debate on both sides.    In the meantime I don’t want to be a lab rat  and I sure don’t want my kid being one.

Prop 37 isn’t about banning GMOs.  It’s about labeling them.   It’s about giving us the right to know what is in our food.   This is a right that a majority of the world has,  even Russia and China, but not here in the US.   Here’s the map of countries requiring GMO labeling.

What’s really crazy to me is how much money big food manufacturers and the grocery industry are spending to not let us know what is in our food.   It’s averaging over a million a day.     Want to see  who’s playing on each side?  Check this out chart from The Cornucopia Institute.   I’m shocked and disappointed at who is fighting against our right to know.    It WILL affect my buying habits.

What can we do to avoid GMO’s?
The NON GMO Project has launched the NON GMO Verified campaign.     They have worked with producers to certify that GMOs do not exist in these products.

You can look for this label when you shop and search for verified products on their website.

When looking at fresh produce – avoid anything with a 5 digit code starting with a 8 on the label (note: 5 digit codes that start with (9 signify organic).   Since it’s not required – the standard 4 digit produce code could still contain GMOs.

Buy organic from those you trust (like your local farmers!).    The National Organics Program  (NOP) standards state that “Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”  However,  the NOP does not test to verify products do not contain GMOs before certifying them organic.

It’s all complicated – something food shouldn’t be.    You’ll continue to hear more from me on the topic.   Until then,  I leave you with resources to dive in further if you choose.



© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


One thought on “What’s all the buzz about GMOs?

  1. Pingback: A (Bi) Weekly Review – October 26, 2012 / November 2, 2012 « Food is aJourney

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