Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which means that the designated organism, like yeast or bacteria, has had its DNA altered by man. Foods made from GMOs, such as corn and soybeans,were first introduced in 1994 and were designed to increase overall production of said food, resist disease and produce more nutrients.
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Even though it appeared to be a great innovation, many people have concerns about the safety of GMO-containing foods today. Some point to studies that have linked GMOs to health-risks in humans such as immune suppression, antibiotic resistance and cancer. Other studies have indicated that GMOs pose a risk to the environment by leading to uncontrolled biological pollution and even the extinction of some species.
However, others argue that genetically engineered foods are necessary to ensure an adequate, healthy food supply for the earth's growing population.
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So, should you avoid foods containing GMOs? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does not have an official position on genetically engineered foods at this time. However, they are currently reviewing research, and expect to release a position paper on the issue in 2013.
Right now, it's difficult to recognize which foods are genetically engineered. The Food and Drug administration does not currently require genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such, but some consumers in states like California, are proposing mandatory labeling of these foods under the premise that they have the right to know what's in what they eat.
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As a registered dietitian, before I can make realistic recommendations on whether people should consume or avoid genetically engineered foods, I believe research must be evaluated and foods must be clearly labeled. If you agree, ask the FDA for clear labeling.
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