A science-based snapshot of why we’re GMO-free
We hear the term “non-GMO” on a daily basis, but do we really know what it means to be GMO-free? Or even what a GMO is?
GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms. This refers to plants, animals, bacteria, or viruses that have had their DNA, or genetic code, modified through artificial means. This is not the same as selective breeding in plants or animals, and does not produce the same kind of results. The process of inserting a new genetic sequence is inherently difficult to control and outcomes may manifest in unexpected ways.
It used to be thought that one gene would code for one protein, however there are many more types of proteins than there are genes, so this simplistic idea isn’t true. Determining which genes are activated, so to speak, and are allowed to produce their proteins and carry out their functions is reliant on many different factors.
When recombinant DNA (the new DNA) is inserted, the results of what genes it will turn on or off are impossible to predict. For example while the plant may start producing the desired pest detractor, it could produce it anywhere in the plant (not necessarily where it was wanted), or it could even stop producing a protein that it needs to function and live.
Not only is it impossible to predict what it will do to the organism; it’s too early to tell what the long-term effects on the human body will be. Studies done on the safety and long-term effect of GMOs are largely done by the companies themselves, or are done with industry funding. A very comprehensive review is GMO Myths and Truths by John Fagan, PhD, Michael Antoniou, PhD, and Claire Robertson, MPhil.
More than 60 countries around the world – including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union – require GMOs to be labeled. Globally, there are also 300 regions with outright bans on growing GMO crops.
A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights, but in the absence of credible independent long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. Increasingly, citizens are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
Anything that is certified organic is also GMO-free, but we’ve gone the extra mile at DeeBee’s Organics by also being certified through the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven non-profit organization dedicated to building and protecting a non-GMO food supply.