You’ve likely seen commercials or signs for foods that market being GMO-free, but what exactly is a GMO? GMO’s refer to genetic engineering in the food manufacturing and growth process. The use of GMO’s is not a new thing, but it has seen the increased controversy in recent years. Before you can decide instead you want to support the use of GMO’s or not, it’s important to know a little more about the safety of genetic engineering.

Why are GMO’s Used?

Many people view the use of GMO’s as unnecessary, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most common reasons for genetic engineering include:
• Pest resistance – GMO’s can make crops more resistant to insects and other pests. This means fewer pesticides being sprayed on the product which has health and monetary benefits!
• Moisture Retention – GMO’s can improve the moisture retention of some crops, making them more likely to survive an unexpected drought.
• Disease Prevention – certain produce is susceptible to outbreaks of disease. When an explosion occurs, it can quickly wipe out entire fields of produce and make them unsafe for consumption. GMO’s allow farmers to prevent the diseases from attacking their crops.
• Better Nutrition – products like soybeans and olive oil have seen nutritional benefits from GMO’s. Farmers have been able to make them free of trans-fat and other harmful ingredients.
• Less Waste – the produce industry sees a staggering amount of waste each year due to produce that’s bruised or discolored. While that produce is often still excellent for consumption, it can’t be sold in stores, so it ends up going to waste. GMO’s make produces less likely to bruise during the shipping and handling process, creating less waste.
• Environmental Benefit – corn is used to make biofuel, which is a process that requires much water, electricity, and natural gas. GMO’s can be used to improve the corns ability to break down into an edible starch, making the process much shorter and more economically friendly.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, yes, GMO’s are safe! Many people who fear GMO consumption are uneducated on why they are used, what they do, and how they affect the food. Genetic engineering crops is a delicate process that is closely monitored and regulated for safety purposes, but when done correctly, has great benefits for the farmer and the consumer alike. Non-GMO options are available to purchase, but you shouldn’t be afraid of products that do contain GMO’s!