GMO's - what are they and why should we be concerned?

You may have heard the term before - GMO or Genetically Modified Organism. It seems to be popping up everywhere from political statements to farmers markets, grocery stores and beyond. Is this something you should be concerned about? Keep reading so you can make an educated decision on this controversial subject.

GMO comes from a plant or animal that has been genetically manipulated, usually by adding a gene from another organism, to give it desirable traits that can't be achieved through normal breeding. In the United States about 70% of processed foods contain ingredients from crops that have been altered in a lab: 88% of the corn and 94% of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. These crops are also used to make high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and the hydrolyzed vegetable protein in everything from soup mixes to salad dressings.

Many states are currently looking to pass legislation which requires certain food manufacturers to label their foods containing GMO ingredients.  Numerous countries already have these laws in place (Russia, Brazil) yet the United States is still working out this issue.  Many food manufacturers (Coca Cola) and Mansanto (world’s largest seed producer) spent millions of dollars convincing the consumer that labeling their food would drive up food prices.

If legislation passes, some of America's most popular food products like Coca-Cola, Kelloggs Corn Flakes and baby formula will be forced to mark their foods as "partially produced with genetic engineering". As you can imagine, the food industry is up in arms about this, as transparency may not work well for their pocket books. As consumers, don't we have the right to know exactly what is being put in the "foods" that we eat? By the way, what is "artificial flavoring" anyway? There's no way to tell since the FDA does not require food manufacturers to identify the ingredient if it is added during the processing of the food.

The FDA states that GMO foods do not pose any different or greater safety concern than food developed by traditional plant breeding. Really? Are you serious? How could you know that since GMO has only existed here in the US since 1994? How many people have to become ill or die as a result of GMO before the FDA changes their minds?
Stay educated on this hot topic so when the time comes to cast your vote in your area, you will be prepared to take a stand. The "precautionary principal" is the basis of GMO labeling laws already in place in Australia, Brazil, China, Russia and the European Union. Why should we be left behind?