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What Is A GMO?

For thousands of years, farmers have used conventional genetic engineering techniques like cross-pollinating plants and root grafting. More recently, scientists have turned to genetic modification of crops by altering their DNA in a lab. This is what we know as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Some farmers plant GMO crops to resist certain diseases, survive herbicide treatment and produce their own pesticides. Today it’s estimated that 80% of processed foods contain GMOs and a majority of meat, poultry and dairy foods are from livestock raised on GMO feed.

How do you know which crops are GMOs? In the U.S. today, soy, corn, papaya, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow summer squash are often genetically modified. Consider buying organic when shopping for these foods if you are concerned about GMOs. (1)

Companies Committed to Labeling GMOs

While it’s not mandatory in the U.S. to label products as GMO, many Americans want to know if the foods they’re buying contain them. Groups like the Non-GMO Project developed independent verification processes to test a product’s at-risk ingredients, so you may see the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on a product. (2)

1-2. The Non-GMO Project’s website. Retrieved on 18-Apr-16.

Other sources:
FAQ on Genetically Modified Foods. The World Health Organization website. Retrieved on 20-Apr-16.

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