This is the third in a three-part series about certification in food and why it matters. Today we cover our verified Non-GMO distinction, administered by The Non-GMO Project.
It’s very likely that you eat genetically modified food every day. But should you?
What are GMOs?
GMOs or genetically modified organisms are living things – like plants – “whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering.” Scientists modify plants for a variety of reasons like breeding a resistance to herbicides or frost, growing larger crops, or creating a specific color or texture that is more pleasing for consumers.
Should you eat genetically modified food?
That remains to be seen. Some people say they are safe. Others say they aren’t. And others still say maybe, but we don’t know yet.
“Genetically modified organisms can greatly benefit society when the proper regulations and safety checks are in place. The conversation needs to shift towards fostering a system that is effective at regulating the use and creation of GMOs rather than a discussion of whether they are good or bad.” Genetically modified fears: Are GMOs OK to eat? – Today.com
“Genetically-engineered crops are as safe to eat as their non-GE counterparts, they have no adverse environmental impacts, and they have reduced the use of pesticides. That’s according to a comprehensive report released by the National Academy of Sciences today—a group founded by the U.S. Congress to provide expert scientifically-based advice on a wide variety of issues. But the academy also found that GE or (genetically-modified organisms or GMO) crops didn’t increase those crops’ potential yields, and they did lead to widespread and expensive problems with herbicide-resistant weeds. Scientists Say GMO Foods Are Safe, Public Skepticism Remains – National Geographic
The overwhelming science so far says that GMOs won’t hurt us. But concerns like the chance — however unlikely — that GMOs may cause genetic changes, allergies, or other serious harm to your health leave room for further study. There could be consequences no one thought to look for, or traits scientists can’t test for yet, or worst-case scenarios reviewers hadn’t considered. What You Need to Know About GMOs – WebMD
Some of it depends on who you trust. A scientist might say it’s safe, but who funded that scientists research? The FDA might approve them, but the FDA has also approved dubious products like aspartame.
It should be your your choice.
We can’t say definitively whether GMOs are safe or not and we can’t tell you whether you should or should not eat genetically modified foods. That’s up to you. But we do think you should be able to choose for yourself and be clear, easy-to-access information on what’s in your food.
GMOs are now in the majority of processed foods in the US (another reason to avoid processed foods). You’re likely to be exposed to them through soy (94% of which is genetically modified), sugar beets (95%), and corn (88%).
GMOs are banned in many countries. 64 countries allow them, but require them to be labeled.
While President Obama recently signed bill S.764 requiring labeling, companies can still obfuscate information by making consumers scan a QR code or call a number to determine whether the product contains GMOs.
We decided to get our cookies verified non-GMO to show that we believe in transparency. You not only deserve to know what’s going in your body, you should know and actively seek out that information. It’s a big part of being a Chief Health Officer.