Here’s the crazy thing about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) – not only have no long term trials been conducted to evaluate the health impact of eating GMOs, but also it’s very difficult to know when you’re eating them (unless you’re only eating organic). And while this may be top of mind when purchasing some of the common GMO crops like corn, soy, and even papaya, I think it’s something that is often overlooked when purchasing not-so-obvious products like dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.).
Dairy cows do of course have to eat just like the rest of us, and if their products aren’t labeled organic (or from a farm that follows organic practices), their diet is likely full of GMO feed.
Maybe this wouldn’t be a huge issue if GMOs were actually labeled here in the US. Can you believe there are 64 countries around the world (including Kenya, Bulgaria, and China) that are required to tell their citizens what’s in their food (therefore they Just Label It), but the US is not one of them?
That’s why I am thrilled to be partnering with Stonyfield on this sponsored post today. They are an organic company that is passionate about the issue of labeling GMOs and changing things for the better.
What are GMOs? Not to be confused with hybridization and appearing in our food supply for only 20 or so years, GMOs are “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.” – World Health Organization
The bottom line is, if you are buying high-risk crops or dairy that’s not organic, then you are likely consuming GMOs. In the case of dairy, cows that are not raised on an organic diet are likely given GMO crops as their feed. And, since many of you are parents, you know first hand the food that mothers eat while nursing (i.e. spicy food or allergens) greatly impacts the quality of their milk. So if a cow is being fed GMO corn, well, “You are what you eat eats too,” to quote Michael Pollan.
And when it comes to GMOs, we just don’t know yet how they will (or won’t) affect our health in the long run, which is rather disturbing considering how wide spread GMO crops are becoming in our country and the fact that they aren’t currently labeled. So, to avoid GMOs, choose organic when buying high-risk crops and animal products like dairy.
According to the Just Label It organization, industry introduced GMOs to the market “with the promise of higher crop yields, but the only things that have increased are the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, the number of resistant weeds and bugs, contaminated crops, and chemical industry profits.” And as a result, Dr. Charles Benbrook of Washington State University says GMO/GE crop technology has led to an overall pesticide use increase of an estimated 404 million pounds since 1996. That is a crazy number, especially when we are talking about the use of synthetic chemicals designed to kill pests (i.e. poison)!
Not Enough Studies
As I mentioned, GMOs are fairly new on the scene (only around for a few decades in a world where we’ve been eating for eons), and therefore no long-term trials have been conducted to evaluate the health impact of eating GMO foods. So that means we simply don’t know whether there are any negative health effects from eating these crops. Do any of you want to be the guinea pig here? The unknowns about GMOs sound like scary stuff to me!
- Buy organic, especially when it comes to high-risk crops and animal products like dairy. This way you’ll be absolutely sure you are avoiding GMOs.
- Be a proponent of GMO labeling through an organization like Just Label It, which, by the way, was co-founded by Stonyfield’s Chairman, Gary Hirshberg. How cool is that for a corporation?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on GMOs in the comments below!