GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are plants and animals whose genes have been genetically altered in a way that doesn’t occur naturally. Genes from one species are inserted into another species in an attempt to transfer a desired trait. For example, a gene from a flounder was inserted into a strawberry in an attempt to keep the strawberry resistant to frost. In this case, the particular experiment failed. According to David Suzuki, “genetic engineering is based on trial and error rather than on precision.” GMOs long-term effects on our health and environment are still unknown and it has not been proven to be safe.
The first GMO food sold in the United States was the “FlavrSavr” tomato back in 1994. Since then, GMO foods have become more local and have introduced varieties of corn, soya, sugar beets and canola here in Canada. GMO products that are imported from the USA into Canada are cottonseed oil, papaya, squash and milk products.
GMO crops were first introduced to be the answer to world hunger, allowing us to use less pesticides and providing healthier foods for a brighter and more sustainable future. They were suppose to increase the farmer’s yields and decrease cost. Instead, GMO crops require the use of large amounts of pesticides and herbicides so that they can grow and flourish. The usage of more pesticides meant an increase in costs for farmers and damages to the environment. GMOs have been linked to inflammation, altered metabolism, neurological disorders, liver damage, kidney malfunction and birth defects.
”On the flips side, it means more product purchased from the seed producer. The companies that develop and patent GMOseeds are the same companies that develop and patent the pesticides and herbicides to which the unique seeds are resistant. Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world and owns about 86% of GMO seeds sown globally. It is also the parent of Roundup.
The safety of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with health concerns and environmental damage. For this reason, most developed nations have policies requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods at the very least, and some have issued bans on GMO food production and imports. In Canada we do not.
Canadians are often unaware that the foods they choose contains GMO ingredients. It is this basic right to choice that is behind the growing movement to have GMO foods labeled. While environmental and food advocates lobby for labeling, other groups, like The Non-GMO Project, have created voluntary non-GMO certification to facilitate consumer information.” (davidsuzuki.org)
Become an educated consumer and fight for your rights to know exactly what’s in the food you are consuming. By doing so, we can raise the demand for good quality, organic whole foods and restore the way food was created to be grown. In turn, we can provide a healthier life for ourselves and the next generation.