Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are those plants and animals whose genetic codes have been altered to such an extent that they contain sequences of nucleotides that aren’t found in nature. Scientists create such freakish inventions in an attempt to boost production of foodstuffs, but there are serious negative consequences to tinkering with the machinery of Mother Nature. As you celebrate the holiday season, you and your family will probably consume a lot of food. By eating only organic food, you can guard yourself against the dangers posed by GMOs.
- GMOs Are Unhealthy
Most genetically modified foodstuffs have been placed on store shelves without adequate testing to study their health effects. Nevertheless, a few studies have been conducted that tend to show that GMOs can increase the risk of cancer, liver disease and other ailments particularly among children. It’s difficult to get the word out about the health hazards of these organisms because big industry names, like Monsanto, often bring immense financial resources to bear to silence criticism. At the same time, corporate titans fund their own studies, which unsurprisingly find GMOs to be completely safe.
- GMOs Have Undesirable Environmental Consequences
Because of the intensive industrial processes used in farming GMO crops, an incredible amount of resources are needed. This leads to pollution of the air and water, which affects the natural ecosystem. Additionally, wildlife can consume genetically altered crops, subjecting animals to unknown health consequences and contaminating higher levels of the food chain. Some of these problems are explored in the documentary Food, Inc., which is widely available for viewing on cable TV.
- GMOs Require the Use of Toxic Chemicals
Most breeds of GMO crops have been specially engineered to be resistant to herbicides. This encourages farmers who use these strains of plants to spray more liberally than they otherwise would. It’s widely known that these chemicals are dangerous to animals and humans, so an increase in their use will be hazardous to the health of consumers. As more herbicides are employed, resistance builds up in the target weed species, requiring the use of an even greater quantity to achieve the same effect in future years.
- GMOs Pass on Their Traits Permanently
Once genetic modifications have been introduced into the genome of a species, they’re free to spread through the normal processes of reproduction. This means that ill-conceived or accidentally implemented variations can take hold in the wild and affect natural populations. There’s no way to predict exactly what will happen when GMO genes recombine and interact with naturally occurring organisms, and there’s even the possibility of genes jumping into a different species entirely than the one they were designed for.
- GMOs Don’t Promote Global Food Security
The big selling point of GMOs – that they increase yields enormously – doesn’t seem to be panning out too well. A few of the genetic changes implemented have in fact increased the amount of food that can be grown, but others have actually resulted in decreased crop production. Taking everything together, this technology has proven to have little effect on food production per acre. Reducing food waste is a strategy that’s much more likely to result in an increased quantity of available food.
Consumers in Europe and many other locales around the world are protected by legislation banning GMOs, but those in the United States aren’t so lucky. Fortunately, all foods labeled organic must be free of these Frankenstein-like creations, so you can protect yourself by buying them. Besides being free of GMOs, organic food contains lower levels of pesticides, more vitamins and minerals, and fewer harmful additives. You’ll also be promoting sustainable farming practices and enhancing biodiversity by switching to organic products.
Though the ability of scientists to make changes at a genetic level is exciting and cool, it has serious ramifications that must be studied thoroughly and objectively. Until the necessary research is undertaken and proper safety measures implemented, your best bet is probably to eschew newfangled GMOs in favor of the all-natural fare that people have been eating for centuries. By consuming organic plants and animals, you’ll be able to avoid strange, lab-generated substances and enjoy a host of other benefits besides.
Remember it’s your choice and you’re family’s health at risk!
Have a wonderful, healthy, and blessed Christmas and holiday season to you and your family!