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GMO has become a common term in our modern vocabulary. However, not everybody understands what it stands for, what it really means, and if it is something we should worry about. Lets take a closer look to GMOs and gather some basic information. Just in case you didn’t know, GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. These organisms, both plants and animals, have altered genetic information. If someone wants to make corn bigger, faster growing wheat, or fish that glow in the dark, genetic modification is the answer. Its different from regular cross breeding, which happens naturally without the need for labs or scientists. Cultivating a new variety of apple or breeding horses is fine and doesn’t hurt the animal or, in the case of plants and animals raised to be food, the consumer.
Genetic modification, which is nothing less than artificial mutation, happens in a lab in the hands of genetic engineers. For the sake of science, these people insert genes of different species into both plants and living creatures, even adding animal genes into plants and vice versa. An example that is still being sold today is GloFish, a patented and trademarked brand of GM fish, created by inserting jellyfish genes into the zebrafish genome. This fish was actually first used as a pollution detector in water, as the actual fluorescence properties were activated by chemicals present in the water.
The majority of GMO production today is made for the profit of those who create it. Various crops are being modified to grow faster, have larger cobs and seeds, so there is a larger volume per yield, which means more people fed, but also more money in the pockets of food manufacturers. The most common GM plants are corn, canola, soybean, and cotton, but also tobacco, rice, and different kinds of fruits and vegetables are now often GMO unless marked as organic.
Modern GMOs are also created to be pesticide and herbicide resistant and then are generously showered in these chemicals. All weeds and insects around the plant die, but the crop is still covered in chemicals and literally drinks them in, so later we consume corn or tomato infused with pesticide. That doesn’t sound like the delicious, nourishing salad you put on the menu, does it? The fact, that the main ingredient in herbicides used around the world is glyphosate, a carcinogenic compound that enters our body every time we ingest a herbicide sprayed plant food, is actually very disturbing and definitely should get our attention, even if we don’t consider GMOs a real danger.
Other GMO crops, notably corn and soy, have been modified to create a crystaline structure that shreds the intestines of the insects that try to eat them, to the point that their intestines rupture and the insect dies. Now that sounds scary. Thinking about all those exploding bugs, you cant help it but think about what danger it bring to our own intestines. There is a very strong correlation between GMO consumption and leaky gut, aka intestinal permeability. Simply put, leaky gut means you have tiny little holes in your intestinal lining that allow foreign matter (most often food that has not yet been broken down into small enough particles for your body to use) to enter your bloodstream, which leads to inflammation throughout the body and can cause all kinds of diseases, but is most commonly recognized to be associated with the development of autoimmune conditions or food sensitivities. People who stop eating GMO foods report significant health improvements. This should get our attention.
Another big problem with GMOs is the fact that because of poor labeling legislation you might not be aware that you consume GMO containing food; so far it is not required by law. Big companies that create GMO crops and use them to create their products are naturally against labeling as it is not in their best interests. As people learn more about them and all the danger they represent, nobody wants to consume poisonous food. And more awareness of course means less money for GMO promoters. Labeling could stop their income and also it would stop making people sick and that in addition means less money for Big Pharma. People who should control our health and well being literally control our sickness, and they make sure we stay as sick as possible for them to get rich on our suffering.
Supporting GMO labeling, not buying GMO food (you can use lists like the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to help you manage a budget and shop smart), educating ourselves and others, and joining communities like the Non-GMO Project or March Against Monsanto is something everybody can do to express their opinion. One activist doesn’t change much, but if we all unite against those who hurt us, we might actually make a change. It is happening internationally, and we can make it happen in North America too!
For an in-depth review of the GMO and Industrial Agriculture impact you can access the 9-part documentary GMOs Revealed.