Written by Jasmine A Koster
Photography by Tristan Schmidt
With strongly opposing views on both sides of the argument and a great deal of misinformation out there, it can be difficult to discern whether genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are the right option to include in your family’s healthy, well balanced diet. There’s a strong advocacy towards promoting the right to know whether foods contain GMO’s or not, so it’s really up to individuals to educate themselves and make their own choices.
How do GMOs Affect Humans?
Let’s start with what the Pro-GMO advocates say. Potential benefits with examples include better crop resistance to environmental stresses such as pests; more nutritious staple foods by inserting genes that induce vitamin A production; and increased productivity in farm animals by genetically modifying cows to produce more milk. Other benefits include producing more food on less land, which is important for reducing deforestation; improved bioremediation methods; longer shelf lives; production of biofuels; curing deadly diseases by modifying genes and developing vaccines; and feeding a rapidly growing, yet currently starving, world population. All of these would affect humans in a theoretically positive way by increasing crop production rates per acre, nutrition, and reducing disease.
Here’s a video on Golden Rice, excerpted from Globalization 101.
Non-GMO advocates cite a possible damage to biodiversity, the possibility of super-weeds becoming highly invasive and cross breeding with other organisms; unknown and possibly disastrous health effects; possible creation of novel viruses and toxins with unknown repercussions, concerns for a lack of labeling leading to fatal allergic reactions or untold health effects, concerns for the rights and future of traditional & organic farmers, and concerns from animal rights groups. All of these would theoretically affect humans in a negative way by harming the lands and species we coexist with, introducing unknown toxins, health effects, and viruses, and causing allergic reactions.
GMO’s can also negatively effect a country’s economy. Japan recently suspended imports of US grown wheat when it found the modified wheat in an import shipment from the US.
Here’s a video detailing an independent experiment done on rats fed GMOs.
What can Unconventional Families such as Yourselves do About it?
First, visit PBS’ Harvest of Fear series to decide if GMO’s are right for you. It features 12 articles, 6 from each side, and it’s interactive. I highly recommend checking it out so you can decide for yourselves whether GMO’s are right for your family.
If you and your family decide to support GMO’s, make your food choices as usual without making any special changes. GMOs are everywhere and in many unlabeled staple foods, processed foods, produce items, and medicines. Some staples include GMO’s such as some varieties of corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, most Hawaiian Papaya, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. You can also advocate for the benefits of GMOs.
If you decide GMO’s aren’t for your family, the first step is changing the foods you eat.
Try choosing foods labeled Non GMO Project verified, choosing USDA organic labeled foods, avoiding at-risk ingredients, and supporting local farmers. Find a farmer’s market near you and ask if you aren’t sure the produce is non-gmo and organic. You can also, should you advocate for the right to know if foods are gmo or a non-gmo lifestyle, host a showing of ‘The World According to Monsanto.’
A closing note as you question how do GMO’s affect humans?
Remember that you support the financial success of every product that you buy by essentially donating your money to it. At the same time you’re advertising the message to those around you who observe you using it, “I agree with the morals and motives of this company, this product is popular and tasty, buy it.”
And check out this little known experiment carried out by a farmer:
Just for fun, check out this video on the amazing, efficient, and ancient technology of aquaponics, with which this skilled farmer produces a million pounds of food a year…year round….on just three acres of land:
Pro GMO Sources:
Not-So Pro GMO Sources:
Thank you Jasmine for sharing your insights and research into how GMO’s affect humans.
Discover more from Jasmine Koster at her blog where she writes about inspired, proactive living.
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