The ‘Need to Knows’ about GMOs

It’s truly upsetting to see so many wild misconceptions about the foods we eat and the people who raise it for us. It’s even more upsetting, to see corporations (I’m calling you out Chipotle!) profiting off the uncertainty of Americans. Here are five basic facts you need to know about GMOs. 

1. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This means that the organism (plant) has been genetically altered by adding DNA to it. This has nothing to do with any chemicals, toxins, or being grown in a lab by an evil scientist wanting to kill consumers by poisoning their food. 

2. Plants are usually genetically modified (GM) to help them survive instances that would typically kill them. Hawaii almost lost it’s papayas because of a ringspot virus. With the help of genetic engineering, a new species of papaya was created, and it is not susceptible to the virus. Most strains of corn and soybeans are genetically modified, to better resist diseases and pesticides.

3. Cross bred plants are not GMOs. Cross breeding means taking two good organisms and breeding them together to make an even better organism. This is called selective breeding, and it is not genetically modifying anything. The massive chickens that Tyson and Perdue breeds and sells in stores, and to most fast food corporations? They got to be that size by selective breeding- they bred the largest hens to the largest roosters and are therefore, not genetically modified.

4. GMO labeling will not completely eliminate consumer confusion. GMOs are only labeled GMOs, if DNA is added to the organism. Removing some DNA from the organism does modify the organism, but will not be labeled as such. For example, button mushrooms that had some DNA removed to make it not brown when damaged, is not legally considered a GMO, and will not be labeled as such.

5. Chipotle did not say goodbye to GMOs during the G-M-Over it campaign. It’s meat products are raised off GM corn and soybeans. It’s dairy products come from cattle raised off GM products. It also has GM corn in its corn syrup, that is used for it’s soft drinks. There is essentially nothing wrong with the GMOs used, but it is wrong to falsely make claims about products to deceive and then profit off consumers. Chipotle isn’t the only business to do this, but it is one of the major offenders.

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*****Bonus! If a restaurant claims it’s products don’t contain artificial hormones or antibiotics- they aren’t lying. You read that right. It is completely illegal to butcher and harvest or milk and distribute an animal or an animals’ products within ninety days of it receiving any antibiotics or artificial hormones. Corporations (I’m looking at you Subway, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Panera, just to mention a few) use this little known fact as a marketing ploy. They advertise that their products to not contain these harmful things, which inversely implies that somewhere out there, is another business offering a similar, yet unsafe product.  

So, why do animals receive these artificial hormones or antibiotics in the first place if farmers must set them aside ninety days? It’s for the animals’ health. They contract diseases and injuries just like people (such as pink eye, broken legs, they need painkillers if injured, etc) and need treatment. I feel that I should also include that, organic farms must use antibiotics from time to time. The typical farm medicates the ailing animals, waits a minimum of ninety days for the medication to completely leave the animal before accepting the milk or meat; The organic farm treats the animals as well, waits ninety days, but instead of accepting the meat or milk, it sells the animal to a non organic farm. Purchasing from an organic farm just means that your food was never sick or injured in its life (or it was never treated if it was). ******

What are your thoughts on GMOs, corporations, artificial hormones, and antibiotics? Sound off in the comments section! As always, thank you for reading and sharing.