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Genetically Modified Food 101
Do you know what GMO means?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms whether it’s fish, meat, or other ingredients. When a product is genetically engineered, the genetic make up of the organism is altered to enhance natural foods and give them characteristics it wouldn’t normally have.
Many crops today have more than one trait that prevents plants from succumbing to disease, resist pests and weeds, and even grow with vitality in a drought.
Did you know that 50 other countries require the labeling of GMOs?
In Europe, Japan, Australia, and a growing number of countries around the world, GMO’s are banned. However, in the US, genetically engineered foods are increasing, yet remain unlabeled. This has led to a growing number of genetically modified foods entering our grocery stores without consumers even knowing it.
What’s the Concern?
Genetically modified foods have only been on the market for the last 10 years, the long-term effects have not been established. This means that more subtle effects on health, or chronic effects that need more time to show up are unknown. Much like it took decades for the damaging effects of trans-fats to be identified – many are concerned genetically modified organisms may be deemed “unsafe” when it’s too late.
Whether you choose to forgo genetically modified foods is a personal decision. Yet, staying informed is beneficial to everyone. If you’re interested in limiting your exposure to genetically modified foods, be wary of processed foods containing corn, wheat and milk products.
Also, finding out whether a fruit or vegetable is genetically modified is as easy as looking at the PLU (Price Look Up) code. Generally, the PLU of GMO foods have 5 numbers and begin with the number “8,” whereas organic food will have 5 numbers and will begin with the number 9.