What Are GMOs? And Why Should I Care?

Genetically modified organisms and the threats they pose are making headlines

I can’t eat a piece of corn on the cob at a restaurant without feeling guilty. And actually, I feel OK with that. Why? Because of the fear of GMOs.

What are GMOs?

[caption id="attachment_8488" align="alignleft" width="428"]Genetically modified organisms, or 'GMOs', are  found in nearly 80 percent of all processed foods containing corn, soy and other products. Genetically modified organisms, or 'GMOs', are found in nearly 80 percent of all processed foods containing corn, soy and other products.[/caption]

News outlets have been abuzz recently with the term, ‘GMO’. If you don’t know what it stands for, no worries. I surely didn’t until I started doing some digging. Turns out GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms,” which are plants or animals that have been have been genetically engineered. Think modern-day science experiment, but with your food, including crossbreeding and other experimental combos. They're supposed to provide cheaper food options to provide to the public.

But we're finding out cheap ain't always such a good thing. We’re not yet sure the long-term effects of GMO consumption, but the future’s looking pretty iffy: GMOs have been linked to health problems due to the use of harmful pesticides, putting farmers’ out of business and damaging our environment.

Even worse news: GMOs are found in nearly 80 percent of all processed foods containing corn, soy and other products.

How dangerous are they? And if they’re so deadly, why are they still around?

 

Genetically modified organisms in the form of plants are usually treated with an herbicide/pesticide called Roundup. Researchers have found consuming this pesticide leads to the development of various forms of cancer in the human body.

Some of the world’s largest countries, including Australia, Germany and France, have banned the use of genetically-modified food. The U.S. hasn’t banned them, citing their approval of the process was backed by research — research that just so happens to have been done by the same big companies that created GMOs in the first place.

So what can I do?

We might not have all the answers just yet, but the idea of not making some changes now and regretting my decision later doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve got the feeling it doesn’t bode well with you, either.

The very best thing you can do is buy local, organic food. That’s the only way you’ll know exactly where your food is coming from and what’s in it. Head to your local farmers market and chat with them yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. They’re happy to answer them.

Now, some people think buying organic is just for the rich folks, that it’s too expensive for your budget. Many times that’s true. But you know what’s more expensive? Doctors bills. When you think big picture like that, it changes your perspective about what is truly costly.

What are your thoughts on GMOs? Have you changed your diet up already? If so, in what ways? Tell us in the comments section below.


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