4 Reasons to Celebrate Non-GMO Month

Originally posted October 2015 by Integrative Nutrition

Blog post thumbnailDid you know that October is the official Non-GMO Month? This month, retail stores nationwide will celebrate the consumer’s right to be informed of foods and products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

What exactly are GMOs again?

GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.

GMOs are often not labeled as such. In many developed nations, GMO products are heavily restricted or banned altogether because they have yet to be proven safe for people’s health and the health of the environment. However, in the U.S. there is a dearth of public awareness of the potentially harmful repercussions of GMO products.

Here are four more reasons why you should celebrate Non-GMO Month this October and empower yourself to make the right decisions for you and your family.

1. Human Health

Currently, seed companies prohibit independent research with their products, leaving very little empirical data available.

2. Environmental and Animal Health

Genetically engineered crops can cause a variety of destructive problems on the surrounding environment. Farmers who use GMO crops can spray their fields to kill everything growing in the area except the specific GMO food crop. The increased use of pesticides and herbicides often leads to superweeds, which then become resistant to the same pesticides, creating the need for stronger, more toxic pesticides (that can leach into our food and water sources!).

3. Moral and Ethical Concerns

Some people question whether genetically altered crops and species threaten and violate the natural order of an environment. Also, genetic modification may involve the creation of foods that are prohibited by certain groups (e.g., the use of animal genes may conflict with some religions, as well as the diets of vegetarians and vegans).

4. Labeling Concerns

Whether you decide to limit or restrict your consumption of GMO products, the right to know what is in our food is important. Research has shown that many Americans would choose not to have GMO products if aware and given the choice.

When shopping for food, it’s a valuable practice to stop and ask yourself the basic question: Where does it all come from? It’s time for us to be food detectives.

Here are a few ways you may be able to consume fewer GMO products:

  • Buy produce and other food items from farmers’ markets.
  • Start conversations with the people selling your food to get more information.
  • Grow your own food in a garden at home or join a community garden.
  • Join a corporate garden or co-op to know where items are coming from. How will you celebrate Non-GMO Month?

How will you celebrate Non-GMO Month? Tell us in the comments section below!

Vermont Expected to Be First State to Mandate GMO Labeling

Consumers in the U.S. want to know what is in their food. It’s that simple. According to an article posted this week in the Los Angeles Times, Vermont might be the first state to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs).

As stated in the article, “under a law signed this month, the tiny New England state, population 626,000, will soon require that food companies tell consumers which products on grocers’ shelves have genetically modified ingredients. In doing so, Vermont could force food growers, processors and retailers to upend how they serve hundreds of millions of customers nationwide.”.

The biggest argument up to date for the opposing side, is that foods made from genetically modified crops are no riskier than non-GMO foods.

“But backers of GMO labeling argue that the issue shouldn’t be about safety, but rather about a consumer’s right to know. Orange juice from concentrate is safe, they note, yet the FDA requires it to be labeled. The U.S. is one of the few developed nations that does not mandate labels for genetically modified foods”.

I agree. The issue is not about safety or whether or not scientific studies have proven that GMOs are unsafe or not. The issue is about the consumer’s right to know.

It’s saddening that the U.S. is one of the few developed nations that doesn’t mandate labels for GMOs. Americans live in a country that continues to serve the corporations, and not the people. And if it wasn’t always evident, then it was made plain as day after Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act in 2013.

Americans deserve to know what they are buying, and we shouldn’t settle for less.

 What can you do to help?

  1. Write a letter to your State Representative (click HERE for a list by state) urging them to support labeling of genetically engineered foods. You can also sign this online petition.
  2. BUYING POWER. Refuse to buy GMOs, and support organic farming. And please support you local farmer’s market when possible.
  3. Start your own garden! How To Start an Organic Garden in 10 Steps

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