A Genetically Modified Food or Organism (GMO) is one that has been genetically re-engineered in a chemical laboratory.
Large scale agribusinesses in certain countries use genetic modification in the cultivation of certain crops, to re-engineer seeds for mass production.
The purpose of genetically modifying a crop is to:
- Boost yield
- Make the crop insect and herbicide tolerant
- Increase shelf life
- Lengthen growing seasons
- Improve transportation and storage efficiency
All of this ultimately adds up to greater profits for big farming conglomerates.
The problem with genetically modified crops (GMO's) is that they contain a variety of chemicals such as, glyphosate, which is harmful to the body, is very allergenic and greatly compromises the nutrition of the food when compared to their more naturally grown counterparts.
A further growing problem, is that mass raised livestock are increasingly being fed genetically modified grains, which impacts their health and the health of the foods that they produce for human consumption.
In addition, GMO's disrupt the eco system, causing harm to the soil and damaging vulnerable wild plants and animals.
Top Genetically Modified Crops To Avoid
Three of the most over-commoditised, genetically modified crops on earth are:
A 2009 study showed that 93% of corn grown in the USA was genetically modified. Corn is one specific natural food that has not been treated right. And its mal-treatment is affecting the health of humanity.
In Australia, the import and use of genetically modified foods is regulated through a nationally consistent legal scheme, including the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000, the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 and corresponding state laws.
The three main genetically modified crops grown in Australia are, Canola, Cotton and Safflower. These are found in many margarines, vegetable frying oils, frozen foods, shortening, cakes and packaged biscuits, crackers and cereals.
Main Health Problems Caused By GMO's
A 2009 study linked consumption of Monsanto's GMO corn to a variety of organ damage, including adverse reactions within the body's vital detoxification organs - the kidney and liver.
Additionally, it is known that GMO foods cause different levels of damage to the heart, adrenal glands, pancreas and reproductive organs.
Genetically modified foods can also cause disruption to the gut microbiome, which is the centre of the immune system, making the body less resistance to sickness and disease.
One of the other major health risks is the consumption of industrial raised meat, dairy and eggs, whereby the animals are fed imported GM feedstock.
Four Tips For Reducing Your Exposure To GMO Foods
- Shop Locally For Produce - One of the easiest ways to avoid genetically modified foods is to choose locally grown, organic produce and avoid big chain supermarkets as much as possible for fresh food. Your local farmer's markets are a great place to start.
- Avoid Industrial Seed Oils - If you want to avoid GMO's, it's important to avoid industrial seed vegetables oils, particularly corn, soybean, canola and safflower oils. Instead, consume cold pressed oils like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Avocado and Macadamia Oil on salads and use raw Coconut Oil for baking and frying due to its exceptionally high heat point.
- Avoid Packaged Grain Products - Keep your eye out for packaged products that contain corn, soy or safflower as an ingredient, mostly found in commercial breakfast cereals, crackers and biscuits. If you're going to eat or drink soy products, be sure to choose organic as often as possible as many soy products are imported and contain genetically modified crops.
- Avoid 'Factory-Farmed' Animal Products - Finally, when it comes to animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, if you're going to include them in your diet and want to avoid GMO residues, it's important to choose pasture raised, grass fed, free-range and organic varieties so that you avoid animals that been fed genetically modified grains such as corn, canola, cottonseed and soybean which are commonly used.
The Main Takeaway
With the proliferation of big agribusiness over the past century, there has been a continued movement towards commercial farming practices for economies of scale. However, unfortunately this has been at a cost to human and animal health and the environment.
One such growing practice is the shift towards genetically modified foods to boost yield, shelf-life and to create year round "non-seasonal" harvests.
Whilst the agricultural industry has been quick to defend the use of genetically modified foods and grains, there is a growing awareness about the pitfalls of this practice, particularly within the organic movement and health conscious community.
Avoiding your exposure to genetically modified produce is simple if you choose locally sourced, fresh, seasonal produce and animal products from small farms that engage in traditional and sustainable practices.
Also, be particularly aware that widely available vegetable seed oils such as Soy, Corn, Canola and Safflower oils, are derived from some of most genetically modified crops on earth and should be avoided if you want to abstain from GMO foods.Tolman Self Care.