So, first and foremost, what exactly is a GMO? A GMO, by definition, is a genetically modified organism. For example, the genes of a tomato can be altered so that the tomato stays redder and brighter for longer. When placed next to an organic tomato, the genetically modified tomato will look healthier, but underneath the shiny exterior the GMO tomato contains possible elements that can lead to illness. Though GMOs can exist in a plethora of items you consume or use on a daily basis, this article pertains directly to GMOs found in plants and animals. Creating GMOs requires scientific alteration of a plant or animal’s genetic makeup. This process helps create what is intended to be a more profitable product.
GMOs have been known to harm not only the animals being genetically modified, but also the humans consuming the genetically modified animal or plant. Some people who have eating GMOs may develop an allergic reaction to the GMO. Similar cases happen to the organism being modified, where animals have become sterile, sick, or, in the worst situation, died due to the modified genes. Many countries require companies to label their products containing GMOs. The United States, however, does not require these labels as of yet.
After learning about GMOs and knowing what they are, people may begin to wonder if they consume GMOs on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is worse that that. People consumer GMOs not just on a daily basis, but for some, in an every meal basis. Many commercial food brands contain some sort of genetically modified product. To many, it is important to steer clear of GMOs altogether, as they have been proven to cause sickness. One fast food chain that is extremely popular, especially around college-centered towns, is Chipotle. Chipotle uses only organic meats, produce, and dairy products. Chipotle is making an attempt to prove that organic, or non-GMO, foods are much healthier for the consumer. Their attempt seems to be working, because every time I’ve been to a Chipotle, empty seats are scarce, and the line of people ordering is abundant.
If you are like me, and do not have a Chipotle within easy-driving distance, there are many other ways to make sure you and your loved ones consume healthy, non-GMO veggies, fruits, and meats. Almost all major grocers, i.e. Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, Kroger, and Ingles, carry an organic line of food. Sometimes, the organic food in these sections comes from local farmers. Shopping locally is another way to eliminate, or at least reduce, your intake of GMO products. Most towns have at least one weekend farmers market. If you have never attended one, you should make it a point to go to the next farmers market your town hosts. These markets have everything from homemade candles and natural ingredients, to local honey, and fresh eggs. When you decide to purchase a large amount of your produce or groceries from local markets or farmers markets, you not only get fresh, natural, non-GMO foods, you also get a sense of pride knowing that your stimulating your local economy and giving back to your town. One tip for these markets however: make sure you bring cash. Although these vendors may have the option of using debit or credit, it’s much easier and simpler to use cash.