GMOs. There in the media, there in the grocery store, there in your pantry. Should these be feared? We know that most farmers support the use of GMOs, but confused consumers and the “health gurus” of the world create fear around them. So here are the facts you should know to make your decision about whether or not to include GMOs in your diet.
What is a GMO?
GMOs, by definition, are genetically modified organisms. This means that GMO foods have added genes from other plants or organisms to improve yield, nutrient content, or other desired improvements.
Which foods have GMOs?
In the United States, most soybeans and corn are modified to improve production by being resistant to herbicides. This means that herbicides used in production don’t impact the growth of corn and soybeans, but do impact the pests and weeds that affect growth. Other GMO crops in the U.S. include canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, summer squash, papaya, apples, and potatoes.
What are the benefits?
As I’ve mentioned before, GMOs improve yield. Some crops have been engineered to be able to grow in droughts. This trait can save acres of food that would otherwise be lost in periods of little rain.
Some GMO crops, like corn, produce a natural insecticide. Because GMO corn is able to protect itself from pests, this reduces the need for spraying the crops with harmful pesticides and insecticides. GMO corn is freer from chemicals and is more environmentally friendly.
What are the concerns?
GMOs have only been around for 20 years. Because this is a new food technology, there are concerns about the long-term effects on our health. There is potential for the added genes to produce substances that impact heath and could cause allergic reactions.
So far, there is no proof that GMO food is harmful to human health. This lack of evidence is not proof that GMOs are safe, but we do know that GMOs are essential for food production. The United States populating is growing by about 1% each year, and it is important that farms produce enough food to sustain everyone.
GMOs have been around for two decades and, based on all available evidence, are safe for consumption. GMOs have benefits like preventing food waste by enabling crops to grow in harsher conditions and improving crop yields. GMOs are a new technology and their risks are still being evaluated, but be assured that the current GMO products in the U.S. are safe.