What are GMO’s? How to make an informed decision on consumption for yourself and your family.

This year at the FNCE conference, one of the mainstays in walking through the expo were foods that are gluten free and GMO (genetically modified ingredients) free.

When I first attended FNCE twenty years ago we were in the midst of the fat free era. Many of the products touted their fat free labels. Some products that were fat free anyway gained new popularity just as products that have been gluten free are doing right now.

One example of a food that has seen trending up and down in popularity is pretzels. Having been fat free, pretzels gained popularity so we ate more of them. Now because we see pretzels as a carbohydrate and having gluten, we’re avoiding them. Please see my September newsletter for more information on gluten.

The GMO free (or not) trend in food seems to be here to stay for some time. One of the food theme’s for October is National No-GMO month.

Below is information to read so you may make your own decision on GMO’s:

  • The most well known GMO’s in the worlds food supply are soy and corn although there are a total of eight crops commercially available in the U.S. including cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, and summer squash. Processed foods, such as sugar or vegetable oil, may be derived from GM crops, but the modified features of the crop are not present, meaning they are chemically identical to their non-GMO counterparts.
  • If you buy organic products you can be sure there are no GMO’s. To be sure a product is GMO free look for this on the label.  This label is from The Non-GMO Project and is the only organization offering independent verification of testing and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada.Note food companies voluntarily allow this on their packaging through the organization. Here is the link to The Non-GMO project website.


  • For information on foods being organic and how this relates to GMO’s read here on the USDA’s statement and blog. I suggest reading the blog comments as there are so many different opinions.
  • GENERA is an organization and website with a mission to be a searchable database of peer-reviewed research on the relative risks of genetically engineered crops that includes important details at-a-glance.  Here is the link to their home page for more information. Further, here is the link to the page with the list of studies on GMO’s with independent funding.

In what I have read and studied thus far there is nothing wrong with GMO’s insofar as negativity to our health. What we do know is that we will not be able to feed our ever-growing world’s food supply if we rely on what we currently have in agriculture.

Some of the environment benefits of the use of GMO crops include farmers seeing improved performance using less land, water and chemicals, improved soil health, reduced runoff, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Trending toward use of GMO foods helps our farmers face issues of drought, heat, poor soil nutrient levels, and insect manifestations.

When thinking about how you feel regarding GMO’s do the research using reliable sources such as those listed above (which may not include your favorite news periodical!) and ask questions before jumping to the conclusion they are ‘bad’ or ‘harmful’.

If you can buy products for your family with no GMO’s as a choice they can be pricey. Why should folks that cannot afford GMO free foods eat any less healthfully than the rest of us (also known as nutrition elitism – yet another new phrase)?

If you don’t believe GMO’s are harmful, then why choose the more expensive products? Let your own decisions about GMO’s be carefully thought out using intention in your nutrition choices.

For myself and our family I will not exclude products with GMO’s in our nutrition and diet choices now or in the future based on science and what I see coming in the future. My own diet and our family’s does not include only organic food as we all enjoy some types of processed foods – all foods can fit. 

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