What are GMOs?

 

If you’re anything like the rest of us, the term “GMO” wasn’t something you even heard about until a few years ago. Even now, a lot of us use the term without truly knowing what it means or why it’s crucial. We are aware it relates to food; we know some people want them to be labeled, but what else?

The Basics

 

GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms, which essentially means that they have been genetically engineered by scientists to make the plant (or another type of) gene stronger than the native one. This happens a lot with our food, where scientists basically pick and choose which parts of a plant gene are most beneficial; drought-resistance, pest-resistance, hardy in droughts, large size, longevity, etc.

 

This came about to increase a farmer’s yield (the amount of food they could grow and sell in a season), and as a way to protect our food supply against issues with drought, bugs, etc. It also keeps consistent size and coloring of food, which we all know we like. Food that looks better sells better.

 

Genetically modifying food was also intended to keep food longer. The strains of tomato, corn, and other foods that kept longer on the grocery store shelves were in high demand because it meant fewer things went to waste.

 

All around, GMOs seemed like the smart choice, especially if the technology were available to make it commonplace. GMOs were initially believed to be entirely safe and were expected to increase income for farmers and the food industry while keeping the food quality high.

 

Of course, as you may have discerned from all of the controversy surrounding GMOs, this is not exactly the case. There are concerns with the genetic modifications that have been performed and, without getting too technical, it raises the question: What happens to a genetically engineered gene?

 

The Science of GMOs

It’s pretty hard to imagine cutting open the gene of a corn plant and only picking out what is good and throwing out what you don’t want to keep, but somehow science has managed it. While this is pretty advanced science, it boils down to removing the natural gene sequence in a plant, which can cause problems when you consider that a plant gets everything from its genetic code – just like we do.

 

There is some debate on whether or not GMOs lack the same nutritional value, and while this has been debunked, there is still a lot of controversies. There is, however, proof that GMOs are not being absorbed in the human body (nor in animal bodies) like native plants. There is concern that removing what is natural from the plants is creating an inflammatory condition in the human body – essentially our way of saying, “Hey, this isn’t the real stuff!”

 

GMOs are also creating pesticide-resistant bugs, sapping the nutrients from the soil, and are not producing higher yields or better food like originally thought. GMOs are now banned in over 60 countries worldwide for a multitude of reasons, but the primary concern is that we just don’t know enough to risk our future.

 

More and more companies, like Eden, are choosing to use organic, non-GMO products to reduce the risk to their customers and increase the quality of their products.