We all want to feel safe about the food we are feeding ourselves and our families. You may have seen the recent news about pesticides in breakfast cereals. So one of the steps we take at Amrita Foods is to reverify our supplies and that they are only supplying us ingredients that are free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Now, there is a lot of confusion and questions when it comes to understanding what GMOs are, how they affect the environment and how to avoid them, so the rest of this post will discuss this.
What is a GMO?
A GMO is a living organism whose genetics have been artificially manipulated through a process called Genetic Engineering (GE). This is not to be confused with selective or crossbreeding, which humans have been practicing for hundreds of years. The difference between the two is that genetic engineering takes the gene from one species and injects is into a completely different species that would never reproduce in nature, while selective breeding alters genetics by allowing traits to be masked or bolstered through natural mating. For instance, GE would be taking a temperature control gene from a cold-water fish and injecting it into the genetic code of a corn stalk so it won’t freeze in cold conditions. Selective breeding, on the other hand, would be strategically pollinating seedless grapes with other grapes so the offspring are also seedless.
Are there places in the world against GMOs?
Many people are concerned with the potential health risks involved with GMOs. In fact, more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and the entire European Union, have significant restrictions or complete bans on the production and sale of GMOs. The most basic of which is required labeling for all products containing GMOs. Despite a few states efforts, mainly California’s Proposition 37 and Vermont’s currently litigated H.112 bill, the US still has yet to follow the precedence set by these other developed nations. We decided to get non-GMO certified so that we can join and contribute to the rapidly growing pressure of regulating and labeling GMO inclusive products.
Are there health and environmental risks involved in consuming GMOs?
Yes, there is a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. Some of the health problems are associated with allergic reactions, infertility, immune problems, insulin regulation and more. Environmentally, herbicide use has grown an insane 15 times more prevalent since genetically modified herbicide tolerant crops were introduced. As a result, “super-weeds” and “super-bugs” have emerged in the world. These are weeds and insects which can only be killed using more toxic pesticides on our foods.
How can I avoid GMOs?
70-80% of US packaged goods include GMOs. You may have seen the recent news about pesticides in breakfast cereals. So looking for organic is always an option- but not that cheap. I believe that best option is to buy local especially farmers market and in season. Also look for companies like ours that are talking about these issues and focusing on a cleaner ingredient chain.