Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), also called genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GM) ingredients, describes ingredients that have been altered at the gene level. The modern genetic modification of food is far different from the cross breading of plants that has taken place for centuries, in the lab and in nature.

Current genetic engineering includes inserting genes from other plants, animals and bacteria into a plant to make it more resistant to disease, pesticides and drought, as well as increase a plant’s vitamin levels or shelf life. Today, it’s estimated that as many as two thirds of all food products in the supermarkets contain GM ingredients. The crops most likely to be genetically modifying plants seem practical,  consumers are wary, particularly when corporate  interests and profits are involved.

The debate about the safety of GMOs is far reaching, and many states have proposed legislation that would require labeling of products containing GMOs. Citizens are concerned about the effects of GM foods on their bodies and the environment. Reports of super weeds that are herbicide resistant and have unintended or predictable effects on insects and animals are cited as reasons for questioning the practice of genetically modifying plants. Proponents of GMOs, including some scientists, farmers, corporations and politicians, praise them for increasing yields, shelf life and potentially food supply, which is of great value in some developing countries. Obviously, there are pros and cons to genetically modifying foods, which points to the importance of continued independent research and evidence.

According to a press release from Schaumburg, Illinois based market research firm SPINS, more than 90 percent of Americans want to know whether their food contains GMO’s. Labeling these has been presented for debate and vote the legislative level in the U.S. Resistance to labeling has come from a number of sources, inditcating that it would be burdensome to the food industry and expensive to manufacturers and consumers and that there is no clear “standard” for GMO labeling. Despite ongoing debate and rejection of labeling legislation in California, a number of food manufacturers have voluntarily labeled their foods and have added “No GMOs,” “Non GMO” or even “GMO Free” to their product packaging. Manufacturers and retailers are responding to their consumers’ call for clear labeling, and U.S. based Whole Foods Market even announced it will require partners to label GMOs by 2018.

White Paper from TopHealthIngredients.com

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