Standing in the aisle as the supermarket dietitian, I get asked all kinds of questions. Recently, a few moms were asking me “Where are the non-GMO (non genetically modified organisms) foods?”. They were almost in a panic – as if feeding their families the “wrong” foods was a life and death situation. Why were these mothers concerned? I received varying answers including worries about safety and health, environmental risks, and thinking it’s “not natural”. But what’s the truth about GMO?
I am going to provide truth and insight into this controversial topic with this blog series – and know that I write these blog posts as a health professional who bases recommendations on research backed by science, that’s been peer reviewed and published without media hype. I also write as a mother who strongly desires a healthy family.
GMO or food biotechnology is defined as using biology (science) to create or improve production, tools or processes that result in better nutrition, taste, quality and/or freshness of food. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. It was a tradition for our ancestors to save the seeds from the best plants to get the qualities they preferred. It also became tradition to take pollen from one plant to another for best characteristics. This happened as early as 1800 B.C. This imprecise process takes a very long time. Food biotechnology makes this process of creating better plants to produce better food more specific, more efficient and more precise.
This post will focus only on safety of foods produced with biotechnology, we’ll get to environment, farmers and us as consumers in future blog posts. Here are some facts about the safety of foods produced with food biotechnology:
- It is safe to consume foods produced with biotechnology. Extensive research has been performed by many different entities over thirty years and there hasn’t been a single instance of harm noted anywhere in the world. Foods produced with biotechnology have been on the market for consumption since 1996.
- Consuming foods produced through biotechnology is safe for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
- Foods produced with biotechnology are more strictly regulated than any other food. All of the following agencies/organizations agree with the safety of foods produced with biotechnology: World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), American Medical Association (AMA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- The use of food biotechnology itself does not cause food allergies or increase the potential for a food to cause a food allergy.
Next blog post in this series? Are there benefits to food biotechnology for our families? Stay tuned.
I would love to hear your questions regarding this topic, please post in the comments.