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The World of GMOs

July 18, 2008

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Many experts estimate that about 70 percent of the foods in grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada contain genetically engineered ingredients, most commonly referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A GMO is any organism in which the genetic material has been altered or shuffled around in a way that does not occur naturally.  

This technology allows individual genes to be transferred from one organism to another. GMOs on the market have been given genetic traits to provide protection from pests and diseases or resistance to pesticides, or to improve the quality of the crop. The most prevalent GM crops were created to resist harsh chemicals. Farmers who use GM crops can spray their fields to kill everything growing in the area except the food crop. Imagine what is being killed in our bodies when we eat these foods.  

The most common genetically engineered crops in the United States, which is the largest grower of GM crops in the world, are canola, corn, soy and cotton. Genetically engineered soy, corn and canola are used in many processed foods, but the government does not require labeling of these foods and regards these foods as generally safe. During the past decade, food safety experts have identified several potential problems with genetically engineered food crops, according to reports from the Union of Concerned Scientists. These problems include negative health and environmental effects. To avoid these foods, be a food detective. Look for labels that say “GMO free” or organic.  

To learn more about the GMO industry, check out this French documentary called "The World According to Monsanto" about the agricultural company Monsanto and genetically engineered foods they create. Check it out now, it may not be available to view for much longer. The topic of GMOs is still very controversial and this movie exposes information about this mammoth industry.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.