Genetically Modified Organisms, or genetically engineered foods, are foods that have been artificially altered to change a plants characteristics.
This is different from selective breeding, which is done through sexual reproduction. Fruit and vegetables are often cross bred or hybridised to enhance flavour, size and colour. At this stage scientists are unsure as to how GMO foods are affecting us.
The major health concerns connected to GMO foods are:
• Increase in allergies
• Increase in antibiotic resistance
• Problems with endocrine disorders
• Reproductive disorders
• Increased ageing
However the main issues are that the most common GMO crops are sprayed with a herbicide called Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate. In March 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of WHO (World Health Organisation), classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans (class 2A).
So where do we find GMO foods? In processed, packaged and take away foods that contain the following:
• Corn/corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup
• Canola
• Alfalfa
• Soybeans/soy lecithin
• Sugar beets
• Animal products like milk, eggs, fish and meat, that have eaten stock-feed that contain GMO soy, corn or sugar beet.
In Australia, the main sources of GM foods are from imported GM ingredients and can be found in foods like…
GM soy – Potato chips, margarine, mayonnaise, crackers, soy tofu, soy milk, soy flour, soy lecithin, soybean oil, pastries, chocolate.
GM corn – Corn chips, corn oil, corn flour, corn syrup. Corn foods with the kernel. Processed corn starch is a sweetener in drinks, sweets, bread, cakes, breakfast cereals, sauces, gravy mixes and syrups.
GM sugar beet – Can be used to produce sugar used in processed foods.
GM cottonseed – Used for frying in the food industry (e.g. for fish and chips), small goods casings, snack foods, baked foods, mayonnaise and salad dressings.
GM potatoes – Potatoes in snack foods, processed potato products and other processed food.
GM canola – Fried foods, baked products and snack food (to make canola they use hexane which is also a known carcinogen – please do NOT use this oil or eat any product that has canola on the ingredients list!)
I included this extensive list because I want you to comprehend how invasive GM foods are.
Manufacturers are NOT required to label if a food contains GMO ingredients, so the easiest way to avoid them is to ditch processed/take-away foods.
Purchasing certified organic food will ensure that the product is GMO free.
Given the questionable health risks associated with GMO foods, the possibility of glyphosate contamination and it’s cancer probability, I highly recommend avoiding them.
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