Does Non-GMO Still Matter?

Does Non-GMO Still Matter?

These days grocery shopping can feel like quite the mental task when we start reading labels, assessing ingredients, looking into sustainability, companies, allergens, organic, plant-based, gluten free, sugar free, non-GMO, and so on. We find that a lot of people don’t realize that at least one thing on that list is a duplicate! If your favorite foods, like a creamy, delicious noops pudding, has the USDA organic seal, then it is also non-GMO. Don’t you just love it when you can knock out two birds with one seal? Yah, we do too. So when we choose organic foods, we are already choosing non-GMO foods and the USDA seal means no artificial flavors or colors, among other things. The question we had is does non-GMO really matter anymore, and why?

We chose to start at the beginning by answering, what is a GMO? The words alone, genetically modified organism, made us cringe.  We don’t want to put these things into our bodies. This genetic modification can be plant, animal, bacterial, or virus whose genetic make-up, the specific combination of molecules that make it what it is, have been altered in a laboratory. This means that the changes do not and cannot occur in nature by any traditional method including crosspollination or breeding. A very unnatural thing indeed. Yet, it is a lab made gene pool that we consume, sometimes unknowingly, nearly every day in some part of our diet. No thanks. 

For all of those molecular biologists out there who love our blog and some seriously tasty vegan pudding snacks, we want to throw it out there that GM foods were created in hopes of combating global warming, an increasing population, and the war on hunger. Unfortunately, it begs the question of how much power is too much?  Unfortunately, that doesn’t make those ingredients good for our bodies and our wellness.

This thought then led us to ask how genetically modified organisms *cringe* are affecting not only our planet but also our bodies. It was Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” So if you’re wondering if all-natural, plant-based, organic food is what heals the body and in part the planet, then what are GM foods doing to our health and our world? This is where it gets a little fuzzy. We found facts and science to support whichever set of answers people most wanted to hear. The problem we ran into was much of the science is outdated, biased, and funded by those who benefit from keeping GMOs on the market. 

In our effort to clarify, we’ll try to keep it simple and not dig too much into the proverbial petri dish. 

One of the more concerning issues we have about GMOs is our inability to see into the future. The noops magic eight ball continuously says, “Reply hazy, try again.” This seems to be the answer in the real world as well. We may have sufficient science saying it is safe today, but we can’t guarantee that it will be safe tomorrow or ten years from now. We don’t know what the diet of ever growing GM foods will do to our bodies over time. Furthermore, what it may do to the planet. 

While it does increase the production of certain key crops like corn and soy, and it lowers the price of food, we wonder if the end justifies the means. Less people go hungry, yet we may create more disease or forever change global agriculture and the world’s food supply. So are GMOs the answer to the problem? With so much at risk, we are simply not convinced, and we aren’t the only ones. 

At the moment, nearly all of the corn and soy grown in the US is genetically modified. As this genetic tinkering makes for stronger, more resistant plants, it has also created species with few natural predators and throws off the ecosystem affecting other plants, insects, and non-GMO crops. This among other concerns are why countries around the world are banning GM foods. Currently only genetically modified corn is permitted for import by the European Union, and yet, ten of the European nations have still banned the modified corn. Furthermore, most of Asia, India, and China are still unwilling to accept genetically modified foods as well. 

90% of the market’s GM crops are grown in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. The rest of the world is still not convinced that modifying the basic molecular structure of our foods is in the best interest of our health or the planet. That’s saying something!

Luckily, in 2016, the U.S. federal government heard our concerns and passed a law requiring all foods with GM ingredients to say as much on their labels. While it’s not a ban on GMOs, it is a step in the right direction allowing us to choose what we want in our bodies. 

In the meantime, we can keep an eye on research and the powers that be to determine how this game of genomes will play out. Currently, the World Health Organization says, “Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”(1) They use terms like “not likely” to cause harm and vague references to tests done in countries where the foods have been approved, yet they don’t reference studies done in the majority of the countries where the foods have not been approved. 

With the line being so very thin between what is best for world hunger, climate change, population growth, sustainability, and best health practices, our final conclusion is better safe than sorry.   And we’ll stay squarely in the “say no to GMOs” camp here at noops

Though today’s science says that health risks are theoretical, we have to end this debate by asking one final question. Are we willing to risk our health even theoretically? Finally, a question we could definitively answer, “No!” That is why each deliciously creamy bite of noops will stay fully organic, read non-GMO, for a truly healthy pudding snack that leaves no questions!

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