What’s Real and What’s Not

We live in a world of blurred lines—between real and faux, natural and artificial, original and altered—and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whether we choose to or not, chances are high that we’ve all ingested GMOs at some time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as plants, animals or microorganisms with genetic material that has been altered in ways that are not natural (such as mating or natural recombination). The technology used in genetic modification is known as “modern biotechnology “ or “gene technology” and sometimes as “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering.”

The WHO cites that “one of the objectives for developing plants based on GMOs is to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.”

GM foods also were developed to create food with greater nutritional value and durability as well as a lower price, thus enabling the world to feed the starving masses.

Unfortunately, this ideal has not become reality. There is some understanding of the purpose for creating GMOs but worries still run high, especially among consumers who conscientiously make healthy food choices when grocery shopping.

The three main issues concerning GMOs and human health are allergic reactions, gene transfer and outcrossing. Some questions remain unanswered.

  • What happens when genes from allergenic organisms are transferred to non-allergenic ones? According to the WHO, no known allergic reactions have been seen. Does that mean there will not be allergic reactions in the future?
  • What if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health? What if antibiotic resistant genes, used as markers when creating GMOs were transferred? The probability of transfer is low, according to the WHO.
  • Outcrossing is the migration of genes from GM plants into conventional crops or related species in the wild. What are the direct and indirect effects on food safety? Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption.

Opponents of GM crops argue that sustainable agriculture and biodiversity benefit most from the use of a rich variety of crops. They fear that as a result of the interest of the chemical industry in seed markets, the strains used by farmers may be reduced mainly to GM crops. For example, with the development of crops that are resistant against insect pests and tolerant of certain herbicides, the exclusive use of herbicide-tolerant GM crops would make the farmer dependent on these chemicals, placing the control of agricultural development in the virtual hands of the chemical industry.

If you practice Active Wellness and want to stay away from GMOs, eat only fresh, whole, unprocessed foods marked “certified organic” or “USDA organic” and only consume organic nutritional supplements. There are no blurred lines with NikkenWellness products.