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What Do You Know About GMOs?

Topical Press Agency, Getty Images

GMO. It stands for genetically modified organisms. These are used to help genetically modify foods. DNA is added to the plants original DNA to add certain attributes. For example, it can make plants resistant to certain diseases or a longer shelf life. A hearing at the Maine state house had over 100 people come out to speak out for and against the bill to make it mandatory food retailers to label products containing genetically modified seeds or ingredients.

Just a little background that to the fine folks at Wikipedia: scientists first discovered that DNA can transfer between organisms in 1946. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. In 1994, the transgenic tomato was approved by the FDA for marketing in the US – the modification allowed the tomato to delay ripening after picking.

Some other examples would be fish DNA injected into a tomato’s DNA to make it less likely to freeze or goat DNA with spider DNA for a stronger protein. Companies that support the use of GMO point out that this can all lead to greater crop yields, more drought resistance, increased nutrition, and lots of things that sound really great.

There is now a bill in the Maine Legislature, L.D. 718, a bill that would require food retailers to label products containing genetically modified seeds or ingredients.

Personally, I DO have issues with the idea of the GMO’s in our foods. Really, fish DNA in tomato DNA? That now makes it no longer a fruit/vegetable?  I have to wonder IF it is so safe, why we can’t know that that product has GMOs. I hear people talk about letting people decided for ourselves on issues in our lives. But we need knowledge to make choices. This seems a very basic thing to naive little ol’ me.  Well, I have read a fair amount about our foods and food related issues. I have to admit, it can be scary and depressing. (Then all I want to do it eat cookies)

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