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Genetically Modified Foods - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:02pm

Genetically Modified Foods - The Good, the Bad, the Ugly “Genetically Modified Food…” You’ve heard the term, but what exactly is genetically modified food? According to ProQuest, a digital service that chronicles scholarly works: “…genetically modified foods or GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) …commonly refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in a laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content….”

OK, so not bad you say. That definition sounds pretty good. Basically build a better product, right? The pro GMO camp cites the positives as growing more reliable food products, aiding food in lasting longer, and a vital component in solving our growing issues of world hunger. But, not so fast. To those in the green space, environmental watchdogs and traditional organic farmers, they don’t so readily agree.

Top reasons why there are problems with genetically engineered food:

  1. Genetically engineered food does not have to be labeled in the U.S.
  2. Most processed foods (boxed cereals, chips, cookies, frozen dinners, etc.) utilize corn, soy, canola and cottonseed oil which all have genetically modified ingredients.
  3. High levels of pesticides are used in GMOs.
  4. Use of antibiotics in GMO development - problem there being low-doses of antibiotics in foods may make antibiotics less effective in humans.
  5. New intolerance to allergies - crossing plant genes may bring on new strains of allergies in consumers.

Clearly this is a complex issue with pros and cons. But as a conscious eater and a yogi, I am more concerned with the cons and the lack of buyer’s choice, since products, like in the use of cloned animals in food product , are not labeled! For more information on this issues and other issues regarding food safety, visit The Center for Food Safety site. For a recent thought provoking op-ed from the Wall Street Journal on the global impact of using GMOs as related to the world food crisis issue from the chairman of Nestlé, read “ Global Drying . With such a big issue touching on so many points on a grand scale, as a consumer all we can try to be is informed and aware.

Written by: Michelle Barge

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