Although the US has not designed any laws to govern the use of GMOs, they are not considered safe by most countries. GMOs contain genetic combinations designed to produce insecticides within the plant or animal where science will genetically manipulate the plants. This means the plants contain natural contributions to insecticides, if there really is such a thing. Reports have shown potentially serious public health and environmental problems with GMOs.
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and building non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. They have developed standards where risk assessments are performed on foods at various points in the supply chain. If GMOs are present, especially presenting risk of harm, the source is required to be identified and removed immediately. Foods are also identified at various risk levels.
According to the Non-GMO Project, foods with the ‘organic’ label are required to be non-GMO. They have lists of GMO crops that include corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini, and yellow squash. Because of contamination in feed, they also list animal products, such as milk, meat, eggs, milk, and honey.
Common food ingredients can be derived from GMO crops. These can include artificial and natural flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein (TVP), vitamins, yeast products, and others.
Consumer education is the key source for understanding and avoiding GMOs in foods. Because of marketing hype, consumers should not rely just on a label that states the product is natural. Labels can be filled with misconceptions.
For example, it is easy to assume that a product with a ‘natural’ label is grown without insecticides. The FDA definition of natural is the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances (artificially made by chemical reactions). This does not mean the product is produced without the use of insecticides and herbicides. GMOs contain genetically designed insecticides that would fall under the natural category under FDA definition.
To know and understand genetically modified food dangers, consumers should educate themselves on the facts of GMOs. Education should include how GMOs are developed in foods, how they affect us, and how to avoid them.