Genetically modified foods have had an increasing presence in our daily food supply for over two decades now. And while almost everyone around the globe consumes these DNA enhanced foods on a regular basis, there are still concerns about the safety of GMOs both top human life and the environment
Nonetheless, even if you want to avoid eating GMOs, it is hard to tell the difference between GM foods and non-GM foods. Both of these are stocked on the same shelves in our supermarkets and grocery stores. What is even worse is that GMOs are not labeled as countries such as the US and Canada don’t have restrictions on the production and supply of biotech foods.
So how do you know what foods to avoid with regards to genetic modification? Here are the top 9 most common biotech crops on the market today;
Soybeans take up the more significant share of the percentage of genetically modified foods in the world today. Over 93% of soy products on our shelves today is genetically modified. And if you don’t trust me, search around.
This crop is primarily engineered to make it more resistant to weeds, pests, insects, and diseases. Common soy products include soy flour, lecithin, tofu, cereals, soy sausages, soy sauce, yogurt, whip cream, baby formula, fried foods, pasta, cosmetics and protein powder.
After soy, corn takes up the second place as the most widely produced genetically modified crop in the world.
Most corn today is genetically engineered to grow faster, grow more, and to be resistant to certain bacteria, virus, chemicals, and pesticides. So if you have corn syrup, corn flour, corn starch, sweeteners, corn chips, infant formula, bread, baking powder, pasta, powdered sugar, and cookies, then you are stocking a whole lot of GM foods in your kitchen shelves.
Tomatoes are genetically engineered so that they can yield more abundant fruits and also so that they can be transported while still green and ripen later.
Initially, experts engineered tomatoes to that they can ripen slowly on the vine to retain its natural flavor, but this wasn’t appropriate for commercial tomato farmers. So today, GM tomatoes grow big and stay green for long. After transportation from the farms is when they are artificially ripened and supplied into the market.
Common GM tomato products include; tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato juice among other processed foods that use tomato as an ingredient.
The first biotech potato was approved in the US in the year 2014 by the USDA and 2015 by the FDA. This crop was engineered to grow larger, and to reduce bruising and browning. Modifications are also conducted on this plant to reduce the amino acid asparagine that turns into acrylamide (potentially harmful human carcinogen) when frying potatoes.
Potatoes products to watch out for include crisps, chips, flakes, potato powder, starch, potato granules, vodka and potato wine.
Approximately 90% of canola crops worldwide are genetically modified. These biotech crops are mainly engineered to increase profits for commercial farmers.
Canola oil is mostly used in processed foods, crisps, flakes, canned foods, snack bars, bread, candy, and cereals.
Commercial cotton seeds were initially modified to make them resistant to cotton bollworm and the European corn borer which were the two most common cotton pests that farmers had a challenge with (they still do up to today).
Today, cotton is also modified to make it resistant to herbicides, mainly, the glyphosate herbicide which tends to kill plants.
Products include cotton oil, fabrics, cookies, and butter.
The general controversies of GMOs put aside; GM sugar beet has also had its share of controversies. Following its approval in 2005, this biotech crop was then banned 2012. After much trials and testing by experts, the crop was again re-approved in 2015.
Sugar beet is mainly modified to make it immune to herbicides, and pests. Biotech sugar beets products include;
Yellow squash is the most modified veggie in the squash family. This plant is often mainly modified to protect it against viruses. If you are not knowledgeable about GMOs, you won’t be able to the difference between GM squash and non-GM squash.
Like most Biotech crops, rice is being modified to make it more resistant to pests. And being the staple for almost half the world’s population, experts are working hard to ensure that the final product is healthy and safe for human consumption.
You might not believe this, but the truth is that if you live in the United States and many other parts of the world, you without a doubt consume genetically modified foods on a regular basis. And even though concerns over the safety of biotech crops abound, it is imperative that you take the time to know and understand more about they are approved and produced.