What do soda, fast-food French fries, margarine, salad dressing, corn chips, and corn flakes all have in common? They all contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms) also know as genetically modified or engineered foods. Read on for answers to the most commonly asked questions about GMOs.
What are GMOs?
Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals created through the process of genetic engineering. Genetically engineered foods have a piece of DNA from a totally different species, such as bacteria or viruses, spliced into their DNA.
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Genetically engineered soybeans, for example, have DNA from bacteria and viruses forced into their DNA to help them withstand the onslaught of weed killers such as Roundup.
Genetically engineered corn has DNA added so that it has a pesticide built right into it. This process creates a whole new unstable species of plant that would have never occurred in nature. None of the current GMO crops offer increased yield, drought tolerance, or enhanced nutrition.
Hybrid foods are completely different. Hybrids are created when cross-pollination occurs between plants. This process can be facilitated by man or it can occur spontaneously in nature.
Which foods are genetically modified?
As of 2012, most corn, soy beans, canola, cotton, and sugar beets are GMO. From these crops, products such as corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, and many more are created and added to processed foods. This is why nearly 80% of processed and most fast foods contain GMOs.