GMOs: What They Are and What They Mean For Us

You might have heard of the term “GMOs” at least once in passing - GMOs are so predominant in the typical American diet today that it's near impossible for a US citizen to have never heard of it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone is aware of what GMOs are and what they mean for us as consumers.

 

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms are exactly what the name tells you: in this case, they’re foodstuffs that have been artificially altered on the genetic level. When we say “artificially”, we mean that the process isn’t something that occurs in nature - mutations may may be natural but where humans are the ones tweaking and modifying genes in fruits, vegetables and animals, it's referred to as artificial genetic alteration. And the result of that are GMOs.

 

Outside of consumption, GMO livestock are important for their blood rather than as a source of meat and milk. They are genetically engineered to produce blood that contains human antibodies that can be donated to treat blood-related diseases. While these GMO animals are meant to save lives, those that are raised for consumption however do the opposite of ensuring our good health.

 

While allergy-free milk and eggs might sound like ideal foodstuffs, in the long run, people that are exclusively fed on these GMO products don’t develop the necessary antibodies to fight certain harmful bacteria and diseases in the case they’re exposed to them. One of the primary reasons why so many Americans are becoming increasingly gluten intolerant is because of nutrient-deficient diets that are producing weaker immune systems. As such, we’re more prone to allergies and developing intolerances to certain proteins, enzymes and sugars like gluten and lactose.

 

In the US, around 80% of what we consume on a daily basis contains at least one type of GMO, which begs the questions: why are there GMO products nearly everywhere? Its simply that the cost-efficiency of producing genetically modified fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as the state of food and healthy safety laws that have created a favourable environment for GMO farmers. Since they can grow on nutritionally poor soil  (and are hence also nutritionally poor) within a short amount of time, many commercial farmers in the US prefer producing bioengineered fruits and vegetables. And since the USDA does not require that GMO foods be labelled as such, these farmers don’t have to put up with certification costs, thereby creating an incentive for other producers to shift to GMOs.

 

But given our health concerns, it’s better to put up with the extra costs of buying organic rather than suffer in the long term due to our nutrition-deficient diets. Hence, today’s foodie is more about the healthiness of the food they’re eating rather than the taste: America’s youth is shifting toward organic produce, meat and dairy products, and are continually looking for outlets where they can acquire organic foodstuffs. Hence we see a rise in demand for halal and kosher, which uses GMO-free cows, and vegetarian alternatives to fast-food such as cauliflower burgers and pizzas.

 

If you’re unaware of where to eat organic, then just simply go Haloodie. Locate your nearest halal eateries and food joints, and dine in on certified fresh, halal and organic cuisines. Download the app today to start eating healthy.

 

 geneticliteracyproject.org