August 5, 2013
A List Of GMO Foods: The Basics
Rayshell Clapper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Many people would like to have a list of GMO foods to help them when deciding what foods to purchase while they're wandering through the produce aisle of their local grocery store. GMO stands for 'genetically modified organism' and usually refers to plant or animal products that have had their DNA altered in order to make the food higher in nutrient content, resistant to disease, or to confer some other benefit (or alleged benefit) for either the farmer or the consumer.
For some people, any form of genetic modification is suspect, and those interested in all-natural and organic foods tend to avoid GMO foods. However, others see GMO products as beneficial. For some foods, it helps them to grow stronger or adds nutrients, while others that are genetically modified are done so to protect the organism against insects, parasites or other disease.
Whatever your stand on genetically modified organisms may be, the following GMO foods list is meant to help identify some of the main GMO foods in order to help you make more informed choices regarding what to purchase and eat. While this is by no means a complete list, it includes some of the most common GMO foods.
Corn is perhaps the most controversial on the list of GMO foods because corn is so ubiquitous in the American diet. From corn syrup to corn starch to corn oil and just plain old corn and corn meal, Americans ingest an enormous amount of corn every year. For just that reason, there is growing concern this produce is a GMO food. According to Natural Society, "Monsanto's GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption."
Monsanto is one of the largest and most notorious producers of many of the GMO foods that fill the produce sections of America's supermarkets. As Discovery.com notes, though, "Bt-corn (named after the Bacillus thruringiensis bacterium) is a form of sweet corn that has been genetically modified to include an insect-killing gene. This means the farmer doesn't have to spray with pesticides, because the insects die from eating the corn. No spraying means less harm to the environment and the workers handling the toxic spray. The move has caused debate, however. The same gene that attacks corn predators also appears to kill the Monarch butterfly."
Another aspect of the corn controversy is that the US is the largest producer of corn worldwide, so any danger to corn affects more than just those within our border.
Tomatoes were the first GMO food to reach the market. They are a part of the GMO food list because they are modified specifically to avoid rotting so quickly. Moreover, as Discovery.com explains, "The original GM tomatoes were resistant to antibiotics. This raised concerns the gene might be passed on to humans, making us more resistant to antibiotics and in turn less capable of fighting infectious diseases."
Another important product on the list is the humble soybean. Soy can be found in tofu, countless vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products. Most strains of soy that make it to grocery stores have been genetically modified to resist herbicides. And as Discovery.com points out, "Because soy is widely used in the production of other items (including cereal, baked products, chocolate and even ice cream), chances are everybody in the US is eating GM soy."
These are three big items on any list of GMO foods, but several others exist as well. In
no particular order some of these include:
Oils (like Canola)
Each one of these is commonly genetically modified for its own specific reasons. If you do not want to eat GMO foods, then the best course is to make sure the foods you purchase have a specific non-GMO label. This is a bit difficult in the US because these labels are not mandatory by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - at least not yet.