GMOs – What are they?
Genetically Modified Organisms.
‘People have been manipulating the genetic make-up of plants and animals for countless generations using traditional cross breeding. This involves selecting plants and animals with the most desirable characteristics (e.g. disease resistance, high yield, good meat quality) for breeding the next generation’ – Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Is there an issue with this? Well it may depend which website or article you read…
Australia allows the commercial growing of GMOs, in particular canola and cotton. GM canola was released in NSW and Victoria in 2008 and there have been close to 900 experimental crops in this time. Other GMO crops include; wheat, sugar cane, grapes, pineapples, papaya, and bananas. Being a farm girl, I understand the importance of producing crops and lifestock that will provide the most yield, be disease resistant and produce the highest quality, while considering the bottom line.
At what cost to the consumer? Who knows! Currently, there are not enough studies to confirm the impact of GMOs on our health.
- increased the potential of pesticide in our food, also meaning that crops become resistant to chemicals and higher doses required.
- introduced unfamiliar or unexpected proteins, toxins and allergins. We wonder why there are so many poeple with food intolerances.
- Used antibiotic-resistance genes.
Preliminary findings show liver and kidney toxicity found in rats who have been fed human approved GMOs – corn.
And labelling? It is extremely limited and excludes some of the most basic and most commonly used ingredients, despite most Australians wanting comprehensive labelling for these foods.
A lot of GMO foods are exempt from labelling requirements:
- Products from animals fed GMO feed (meat, milk, eggs, honey) – we as humans are still ingesting these GMOs.
- Highly refined GMO ingredients (cooking oils, sugar, starch) — most processed foods contain some kind of oil or starch.
- Food from bakeries, restaurants and takeaways.
- Foods “unintentionally” contaminated with no more than 1% GMO contamination per ingredient.
The government reports: ‘GM foods, ingredients, additives, or processing aids that contain novel DNA or protein must be labelled with the words ‘genetically modified’. Novel DNA or protein is defined in the Food Standards Code as DNA or a protein which, as a result of the use of gene technology, is different in chemical sequence or structure from DNA or protein present in counterpart food, which has not been produced using gene technology’ – Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
It is big business bottom line versus the health of our country… who is going to win out?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/gmfood/gmoverview/Pages/default.aspx
True Food Network: http://www.truefood.org.au/questionsandanswers/?question=1
Image from: http://greenfoodie.com.au/tag/gmo/