Part V: GMOs
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living things — such as plants, animals, bacteria, and viruses — whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering creating in them genes that may or may not have occurred in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Traditional methods involve selecting the few plants with a desirable trait (or genetic make up) making it stand out from the rest and then continue growing and reproducing the selected plants to increase their numbers. Then, repeating that entire process choosing stronger and stronger plants with that trait from each new crop to reproduce — until the trait hopefully became more and more dominant and the desired result was achieved.
This traditional crossbreeding method takes years if not decades to produce results but those same or similar results can be produced far more rapidly in a lab. They can also produce in the lab many results that traditional crossbreeding methods are unable to create successfully.
Most GMO crops have been modified to withstand weed killers and pesticides that would otherwise kill not only the weeds and insects but also the food crops.
Many food crops have been modified to produce their own insecticides in the hopes of decreasing the need to apply commercial pesticides, however, pesticide use has actually increased. I have yet to find any answers as to why pesticide use has increased rather than decreased with these plant modifications. I can only speculate that — perhaps just like super bug germs — there are now super insects besides just the cockroach?
Concerning is that with the increased use of pesticides we are losing valuable insects along with the pests — such as the honey bee which not only supplies delicious honey but also is the primary plant pollinator.
There are about 300 regions world wide that have banned growing GMO crops and over 60 countries require labeling of all foods which are GMO or any products that contain GMO crops as an ingredient.
Prepackaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — the majority of those crops grown in North America — which have been genetically modified.
With all of the other additives used such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, it is difficult to determine exactly which are causing the most health issues or if it is the combination and heavy concentration of all these combined.
It takes decades of long term studies to determine such things and GMOs are still a newcomer on the whole of it.
There is plenty of evidence to show that prepackaged, highly processed foods filled with additives and excessive salts and/or sugars as well as processed meats filled with nitrates/nitrites are bad for you. There are a great many people eating these foods today in large quantities, — and they have been around for a very, very long time — so it is easy to determine that these types of foods are unhealthy. They were causing problems before GMO crops even entered the picture.
However, there is not yet enough evidence to show if GMO food crops are safe or also a health problem. There simply aren’t enough (or any) people whose diets consist only or predominantly of GMO crops to be able to prove it is GMO crops — rather than all of the other things people are consuming already known to be causing health issues.
Personally, I hate GMO tomatoes. Yes, they look prettier and have a longer shelf life, but they also have far greater un-chew-able, woody, white tendrils running throughout them. They aren’t as juicy and not anywhere near as flavorful as the various Heirloom tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes. By the time I’ve cut out all the tough tendrils there is very little left other than the outer skin.
To Be Continued…