What is a GMO?
GMO stands for “genetically modified organism” which means an oganism (plant, animal, insect , etc.) that a scientist took and changed in a lab by inserting things like extra genes, or a virus, or DNA from another species into and/or deleting genes from the organism.
For example, corn is one of the most widely known GMO crops. Scientists changed the genes (what’s inside the seed that makes corn… corn) to make corn resistant to (not affected by) herbicide. Meaning that farmers grow the GMO corn crop and spray it with herbicide and kill the weeds around the corn, without killing the corn. Scientists also added “Bt genes” in corn so that the the corn creates it’s own pesticide by releasing “Bt toxins” that kill targeted insects that would naturally eat the harvest, while leaving other beneficial insects unharmed. When a susceptible insect eats the GMO corn, the BT toxin enters it’s intestinal tract, which is then paralyzed (stops working) and the bug stops eating and dies.
Using GMO seeds was supposed to allow the farmers to use less herbicide and less pesticide but has actually had the opposite effect, according to a study done by Food and Water Watch. They report that farmers have to purchase and use more herbicide and pesticides, which increases farmers costs and spills more chemicals into our water supply.
This is just one example of a GMO. The thing about GMOs is they don’t only affect the food we eat, they also impact farmers, animals and our environment right down to our water supply. As you can imagine, there is a lot more to the story but I hope this helps you better understand what a GMO is. Knowledge is power, right!?
My natural and organic life is an ever evolving journey. GMO wasn’t one of the first things I changed and it’s one of the hardest things to totally eliminate and avoid.The United States does not require products that use GMOs to be labeled. However, USDA Organic products are not allowed be produced using GMOs. If you choose USDA organic products you are hopefully avoiding most GMOs in that product. There is also a “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal you can look for.