What is GMO? Learn more about GMO Foods.

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In the last year, a fair amount of attention has been placed on genetically modified organisms (GMO) in regards to food, at least significantly more than in previous years. It turns out that scientists and agriculture giants have been quietly tinkering with our food sources in order to increase profit and reduce loss. But, what is GMO exactly?

In short, GMO is a plant, animal, or bacteria with a modified DNA. This includes combining different genes from various organisms and creating genetically modified or engineered products that aren’t found in nature, yet are technically made up of natural DNA.

Scientists spend significant amounts of time pinpointing the genes that are responsible for different aspects of specific organisms, like why one plant is resistant to a certain pest while another gets clobbered by it, or why one animal can grow rapidly while others with similar genetic makeups don’t. Once the genes responsible for these traits are extracted, they’re incorporated into organisms that could benefit from them, imbedding them with these “desirable” traits.

How does this translate into understandable information? Today, there are well over 941 million acres of GMO crops being grown, including wheat, soybeans, corn, and tomatoes, with the US being the leader, responsible for 53% of GMO crops. Despite this rapid expansion, there are several, numerous, untold potential pitfalls to this seemingly innocent use of science: from tangible issues, like transferring or increasing allergens and further harming the environment, to the ethical quandary of whether or not violating the true nature of an organism is actually okay. Although many don’t seem to really understand what GMOs are, they’re slowly making their way into every corner of your grocery store, from the produce section to the packaged goods. Recently as of January 2013, GMO Salmon was approved by the FDA and became the first gm animal approved for human consumption. 


The Business side Of GMO

The profit driven corporations behind the growth of GMO are able to patent their products thus having control of the market. Since by law, nature cannot be patented, in a way, GMOs allow companies such as Monsanto to circumvent it and exercise their control over the food supply. 

Imagine a day where all the available citrus fruit seeds are of the GM variety and are patented by some big agra or biotech  company. Besides any possible health risks, you would now be under the control of the corporation producing those terminator seeds with kill genes. Leave it to profit driven companies to come up with all the GM seed varieties necessary to control the entire food supply market. However, there is still time to preserve food freedom through awareness and individual choice. We consumers can still turn things around.


The Consumer still has the power

Believe it or not, the informed consumer still has the power to change and prevent GMO's overthrow of natural and organic foods. Just like a house of cards, the uninformed consumers are still propping up the GMO industry by purchasing its products. Once consumers become informed and make better buying decisions, the GMO house of cards will crumble. The GM industry understands and is racing to produce as many gmo varieties as possible. 

In the 1980's organic food was nowhere to be found in conventional food stores. Today every conventional market has an ever growing organic food section. The same needs to be accomplished with GMOs via awareness and informed decisions. Do not wait for big agra and biotech to be truthful about their products, they spent millions to stop the gmo labelling prop 37 in California last year. 


Resources for GMO awareness

GMO Documentary - Genetic Roulette - Watch it free!

The Non GMO shopping guide: The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to buy everything "organic". However, with many processed products such as cereal it is good to have a guide specially since Big Agra companies have been purchasing smaller organic food companies in the past few years. http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

The importance of required GMO labelling so that consumers can have freedom of choice when shopping for products. http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/regulation/labelling/