Unless you grow your own food out of a garden, chances are you don’t have as much control out of your food sources as you’d like (and even in that garden, it’s important to know where those seeds and seedlings came from.) Meat, vegetables, fish, and especially packaged foods come from a wide variety of sources and are all produced in vastly different ways. Concerns about food supply and what is actually in the foods we buy and eat are coming to the forefront more and more recently, and many are concerned about issues surrounding GMOs. What are GMOs, why should we be concerned, and what can we do about them?

What are GMOs?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, and they are most commonly found in food items. Genetically modified or genetically engineered foods are created when the DNA from plants and animals, and from bacteria and viruses, are injected into food cells to make them more resistant to drought, pests, and other conditions that can cause food supply issues. Common GMO foods include soybeans, corn, and the sugarbeets that are used to make sugar. The company that controls most of the genetically modified food supply is Monsanto, a chemical company that was responsible for many GMO seeds, Scotts Miracle Gro, Round Up, and was the company that produced Agent Orange in the 60’s.

Why Are GMOs Bad?

While the idea behind GMOs may seem great, these injected substances have not been found to be safe, and in fact are banned in many countries around the world. The truth is, we don’t really know the effect of genetically modified foods in the long term, and often we don’t even know what foods contain GMOs because they are not required to be labeled. GMOs could affect our health and that of our children, the health of our planet, the future of farming, and the ability of plants and produce to fend off pests, weather, disease and drought.

What Can We Do?

Food that is USDA Certified Organic can’t contain GMOs by law. Most whole foods cannot contain GMO’s, while most processed foods do. Look for the Certified Organic stamp on foods, or the Non-GMO Project Verified label. If you grow your own garden, check to be sure you are planting non-GMO seeds. If you would like to get involved for the cause against GMO’s, you can join the growing ranks of people who are asking for required GMO food labeling.

Doing right for your health and the health of the planet can be difficult when companies are engineering foods in a lab without the general public knowing what this could ultimately do to our health and the future health of the next generation. Taking the time now to become aware of GMOs, the issues surrounding them, and the actions we can take to protect ourselves could make a big difference in your own health and the health of our planet.