By Megan Vick
Leading up to the May and November elections in 2012, there was a lot of discussion about GE and GMO foods. You probably heard how horrible they are for you. You may have heard that GE foods are the way of the future and the only way we are able to feed our growing global population. Regardless of what various interests groups told you, what do you know about GE and GMO?
Genetically engineered means that something has had it’s genetic structure modified or altered, while GMO simply refers to an plant or animal which is the product of Genetic Engineering. Sometimes, genetic engineering can create vaccines or cure a disease in an organism. However, many people know genetic engineering in association with FrankenFood! There have been several fruits and vegetables over the years which have been genetically engineered to resist diseases, or resist common pesticides. The most common of these plants are Roundup Ready crops developed by Monsanto. These genetically modified seeds are designed by Monsanto to resist the Monsanto pesticide, Roundup. Farmers can conveniently spray their crops of corn, soy, and cotton with Roundup without having to worry about killing off the plants.
More recently, the FDA has been considering allowing GE salmon for human consumption. These salmon would grow more quickly and larger than wild salmon. Many groups are against GE animals for food because they feel the salmon has not been around long enough to see the entire effect on human health. While not yet legal for consumption, GE salmon could very well show up in your local grocery store and at restaurants nationwide in place of wild-caught salmon.
For vegans, any GMO can be a potentially big problem. When someone follows a vegan diet, all animal products are removed for consumption. With GMOs, it’s possible to insert a gene from an animal into a plant’s genetic makeup. DNA from rats can help humans absorb more vitamin C, while other animals DNA may help absorption of beta-carotene. Whatever the reasoning, knowing scientists have used animal DNA in plants makes eating a plant based diet much more difficult. When in doubt, look for the Non-GMO Project symbol on the packaging of food.
While we do everything in our power to not demonize the chemical industry, our concern about GM foods is the effect, whether long or short-term, these seeds and plants will have on our bodies. Humans, by nature, are resilient, and we may not know how GM crops affect us for several generations (if they affect us at all). There are many studies regarding GE foods, both GE plants and animals. Whether you support GE foods or not, we promise we won’t have any GMOs in our vegan bath & body products.