Extra Helpings: Get To Know GMOs


What are GMOs? Last week you recommended I try a new snack that was “GMO free.” So what’s the big deal about GMOs?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. Simply put, crops grow from seeds in which the DNA has been spliced to move genes from one species into another. By doing this, scientists can enhance desired traits, like resistance to herbicides, or improve the nutritional content.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound so bad (especially if you know that food has been modified for centuries through selective breeding). But critics are concerned that GMOs pose environmental hazards (via increased pesticide use, the loss of soil and plant nutrients, and the contamination of non-GMO crops) and human health risks (an increase in allergens, and other unknown side effects).

Opponents want manufacturers to prove that GMOs are safe and that any product containing GMOs be clearly labeled with that information. But industry officials argue that GMOs are safe… and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t banned GMOs in our food… yet… so they must be okay.

Consumer groups counter that if genetic engineering is safe, labeling the products should be no big deal and that doing so will allow consumers to make informed decisions about what they buy. Interesting enough, “GMO Free” labeling was the fastest-growing health and wellness claim made on store-brand foods last year, so the uncertainty surrounding GMOs is resonating across the food industry.

How do you feel about GMOs? Should they be banned completely… or should food companies just be required to label products that contain GMOs?


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com