Back when people discovered genes and managed to manipulate them into creating something else, completely new and unheard of, manipulating the genes of the foods we ate seemed like a great idea. I mean, you could create corn that was pest resilient; that grew bigger and better and could feed more people. What’s wrong with that, we thought?! Unfortunately what we failed to see was how bad that food was for us. But we see it now and stopping is quite hard at this point. We’ve told you in an earlier post what the worst processed foods to eat are and today we’re going to take a look at the most common genetically modified foods on the market.
Almost all the corn eaten in the US is genetically modified. Sweet corn was genetically modified to include a gene that would kill insects. The killer corn made it easier for farmers to grow it, because they wouldn’t have to spray it with pesticides (the insects would die from eating the corn, yummy, isn’t it?). Of course this backfired, because somehow, that gene also kills the Monarch butterfly.
Salmon is the latest genetically modified food to be approved. It’s because wild salmon matures very slowly (up to three years) and the GM one would not only grow much faster, but it will become twice the size of its wild counterpart. This GM salmon even has a name and it is AquAdvantage and it is supposed to grow inside fish farms. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get released into the wild and overtake everything. We’re safe for now, because it is engineered to be sterile, but DNA tends to mutate quite quickly.
Did you know that people in the world today eat only 25% of the potatoes grown? The rest of them are used as livestock feed and are made into starch. The world really is turning into something not so nice to witness, if we’re giving potatoes to our food when we should give potatoes to our starving human beings.
Tomatoes were the first genetically modified food and the only modification made to them, from then until now, was to make them last much longer. The new GM tomatoes don’t rot as fast as normal tomatoes do. The first GM tomatoes were made to be resistant to antibiotics which sparked fears that the gene would get passed on to humans. New GM tomatoes aren’t resistant to antibiotics anymore.
In United States genetically modified oils are in most cases sold as cooking oil and they are used for frying potato chips and used for making margarine. Rapeseed oil became an important crop after the plant was genetically modified, because before than the oil was too bitter to be used in foods. The modification that made the plant sweeter also increased its resistant to herbicides and now the crop requires much more powerful herbicides to succeed.
When it comes to genetically modified foods we only seem to think about the food we eat. How about the food our food eats? Did you know that a large percentage of animal feed has GM foods in it? Also, animal feed is enhanced all the time with coloring, vitamins and all sorts of medicine that pass through its system and end up in its milk, eggs and meat.
Squash is very easy to grow but it gets diseases even easier and that is why it was genetically modifies, so that it would be ensured that crop survive. Aside from the fact that the cucumber beetles seem to love them and their droppings cause wilt disease, the GM squash has managed to find its way into the wild. This means that it will mix with wild varieties and disrupt nature’s fine balance.
Sugar beets is where we get our sugar from and the newly modified crops are causing quite a stir. A new herbicide-resistant sugar beets was approved in 2008 but banned two years later. It was hoped that production would be improved, but a federal judge banned the beets because the company failed to present an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).
250 million people around the world have a vitamin A deficiency, which can cause blindness and death. Golden rice has vitamin A in it and it was created to treat this vitamin A deficiency, as rice is the most common food on Earth. Right now, scientists are working at creating a new type of rice, with an iron gene which would make rice a vital source of iron.
Right now, the soybean is the most genetically modified food in the plant – 85% of all soybeans grown on American territory are genetically modified. Soy isn’t just used as such, it is used in baked products such as bread and even ice cream. You should know that tofu and soy sauce are make from non-GM soybeans and that the bulk for the crops do not go to the human food industry, but become livestock feed.
What are your thoughts on these genetically modified foods? Were you surprised to find some products on our list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.