GMOs: What the Heck Are They, and Should We Even Care?

Posted: April 15, 2016 by justindhanks in Uncategorized
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Chipotle made news in 2015 when they announced they will only use non-GMO ingredients. But does it even matter? Photo by: Mike Mozart

By: Justin Hanks

I can never decide whether or not to believe or follow the latest health trends.

Just like with fashion, it seems like health trends come and go with each season, and just as one becomes popular, another is usually right behind it, waiting its turn to capture and devour the hearts and stomachs of health nuts everywhere. It seems as though just yesterday kale and quinoa were all the buzz and were being crowned the next superfoods.

If people aren’t praising a food for its perceived health benefits, then they are bashing another for its health risks. One of the more talked about health topics recently is the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, finding their way into our foods.  The World Health Organization defined GMOs as, “organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”

Chipotle made news when they became the first national restaurant chain in the United States to use only non-GMO ingredients in their food, or so we thought.

Last September, a class-action lawsuit alleged that Chipotle got their meat from farms whose animals are given feed that is genetically modified, their dairy products come from farms that give animals GMOs and their sodas use sweeteners that have GMOs in them.

These claims against the Mexican chain aren’t false, and Chipotle even acknowledges it, disclosing the issue with their sodas and the challenge of trying to get its meat suppliers to use GMO free feed.

The question though becomes, why should I care about GMOs?

Some of the arguments for the use of GMOs are economic, saying that they lower the use of pesticides, grow substantially more crops, and provide developing countries with a sustainable source of food.  Other arguments say that GMOs allow food to be altered to contain higher volumes of vitamins and nutrients.  GMOs also allow bizarre food combinations to be made, such as the oraniwi, banato and lemato.

The opposing argument proposes that GMOs could possibly cause an increase in allergies or resistance to anti-biotics. Studies have not supported these claims, but skeptics claim there could be a correlation between GMOs and these health risks.

Whether you believe the claims or not, it is important to know the information regardless, especially since the United States, unlike many countries around the world, doesn’t have laws requiring the labelling of genetically modified foods.

Personally, I will not care much about GMOs until relevant and reliable studies come out to support the claims that they risk health.  However, I think that companies should label their foods if they do contain GMOs.

This way, people can decide for themselves whether or not to follow this trend.

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