So, what are GMO’s? Taken directly from Monsanto’s glossary, GMO’s are “Plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.” The World Health Organization describes them as “Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”
GMOs are used in biological and medical research, production of pharmaceutical drugs, experimental medicine, and agriculture. The term “genetically modified organism” does not always imply, but can include, targeted insertions of genes from one species into another.
GM technology has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.
Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have found genetically modified food ingredients are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.
This is where the most people disagree. In fact, most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.