Are GMO Foods Safe?

Are GMO foods safe? This is a question many people have and it’s important to know the facts. Many farmers in South Dakota and all over the country use genetically modified crops and you’ve probably eaten many GMO foods without even realizing it. But what exactly are they and are GMO foods safe? 

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What are GMOs and GMO Foods?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and they are any plant or animal that’s genes have been scientifically altered. That’s something that might sound scary without further context for the “why” and “how” GMOs are used. 

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GMOs are created by identifying a gene that gives an organism a desired trait, the information is then copied and inserted into the DNA of another organism. That organism is then grown. Desired traits include drought, insect and virus resistance, as well as minerals, vitamins, and other health benefits.

GMO foods are any foods that use GMOs in them. For instance, GMO cotton is found in cottonseed oil in some potato chips.

How are GMOs tested? 

GMOs are regulated by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When a new variety enters the field, the GMO needs USDA, FDA, and EPA approval before it can be grown commercially. 

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Additionally, every GMO plant is tested for 13 years before it’s approved. This approval process includes testing birds, mammals, beneficial insects, fish, frogs, and other organisms to ensure the crops are safe and without negative effects. 

When the FDA reviews a new GMO they look at how the genetically engineered food compares to a non-genetically modified counterpart. They consider things like differences in nutrition or if the new genes could potentially introduce something harmful, like allergies.

Many studies have been done on GMOs as well and the overwhelming majority opinion is that GMOs are safe for people, animals, and the environment. One study involved a thorough review of research on the safety of GMOs over the past 10 years and found no significant harm directly linked to GMOs. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Royal Society of Medicine, and the French Academy of Science are all also in agreement that no harm comes from GMOs.

Are GMO foods safe?

So, are GMOs safe? The answer is, yes. GMOs have endless benefits for the consumer and the farmer and ultimately help there be more quality food in our food chain. However, at the end of the day, you have a choice on whether you want to buy GMO or non-GMO foods and both are nutritional and safe to eat! 

To learn more about the benefits of GMOs check out our blog on Interesting Facts About GMOs. Hear farmers’ perspectives at Why Do Farmers Use GMOs?  

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