By Chelsea Covage
In the early ‘90s, food companies realized that they could produce higher quantities of food at cheaper rates. This new development allowed food to cook quicker and expire at later dates; for many consumers these changes were convenient and time- saving.
However, what many people fail to realize is that over 80 percent of the food available for purchase today is not real. Instead, it is comprised of genetically modified organisms.
Ask a random group of people what a genetically modified organism is, and they would probably be clueless or apathetic. Many fail to understand that these organisms taking over our food supply are becoming threats to human health and the environment.
In the food industry, crops are the main targets for genetic engineering because of the large sums of money involved in the farming process. The goals of both conventional farmers and that of the food industry is to not only develop crops that have the ability to withstand direct contact with herbicides, but to also create crops that have the ability to produce their own insecticide. These new and enhanced crops save companies huge amounts of money on pesticides, as well as keep their crops from dying due to any possible insect infestation.
This relatively new development in science has created numerous combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Some scientists suggest that this could potentially cause serious threats to humans and the environment as time moves on.
The most common GMOs found in our food supply include soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa and squash. Many of these items are common ingredients in many of the foods available to us, which makes it extremely difficult for someone to avoid purchasing them. GMOs are found in soft drinks, breakfast cereals, breads, yogurts and deli meats. High fructose corn syrup, aspartame, citric acid, ascorbic acid, sucrose and xanthan gum are just a few of the many processed ingredients listed in foods that have been genetically modified and are extremely unhealthy for human consumption.
People must start to consider the long-term effects of consuming genetically modified foods. Even though very few studies have been done on the long-term effects of human health and GMOs, there have been many tests performed on animals that prove that consuming GMOs does cause harm to the body.
Scientists in Norway recently conducted a long-term project with rats and GMO food. Over a period of 90 days, one group of rats was fed genetically modified corn feed, while another group was fed non-genetically modified corn feed.
According to Carolanne Wright’s article, “GMOs Encourage Weight Gain and Obesity,” scientists discovered that the rats eating the GMO corn feed had bigger appetites and an increased weight gain while the other group of rats did not have any bodily changes. Wright’s article also states that the rats eating GMO feed displayed changes in their immune systems, intestinal structures, digestive and reproductive organs. Alterations to their livers, kidneys, pancreases and adrenal glands were also evident.
Based on this study, comparisons can be made in regards to the increasing obesity epidemic in America. If rats on a complete diet of GMO food gained a significant amount of weight in 90 days, how would genetically modified food affect Americans who have been on a complete GMO diet for years? Wright’s article also cites data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that shows that there has been an enormous spike in obesity since the early ‘90s.
Health problems in humans have been on the rise since 1996. According to Jeffrey Smith’s article, “10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs,” the amount of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses has increased from 7 percent to 13 percent in a nine year time period alone. Smith also states that food allergies, digestive problems, reproductive disorders and even autism have been consistently on the rise.
GMOs have brought nothing but turmoil to the United States. Students need to be informed so that they can take action and have a choice as to whether they want to consume GMOs or not.
If you want to change what’s in our food, you can participate in protests, write letters to Congress demanding GMO labeling or even boycott certain products altogether and buy non-GMO foods instead.
If more people start taking this issue seriously, we can force the food industry to stop the production of GMOs altogether. and go back to the ways nature intended food to be.