At Amchara we refuse to eat GM foods, and we do not support GM food in any way, shape or form.
We also teach our retreat visitors why GM is bad for us and how to avoid it.
So, how can you avoid it?
To cut a long story short, GM food is bad for you, bad for others, bad for farmers and bad for the environment of our beautiful planet. GM food is just bad full stop.
So first off, what exactly are GM foods?
What Is GM?
Genetically modified organisms, i.e. GMOs, are generated by a scientific process of transferring genes from one species to another. Basically, it is making a whole new creation that doesn't exist in nature - not the way it was intended. Hopefully you can already see a problem.
A massive 85% of global domestic crop including soybean crops have had their DNA messed with in a laboratory, however it is almost impossible to be able to tell which foods contain GMOs. Thankfully, technology has made life easier for GM food avoiders, but this doesn't always cover it. Packaging now must confirm if there are any GM products included, but again, it isn't always clear - the big money boys like to try and hide their tracks as much as possible. So how can you avoid them?
Before we go into that, let's look at why GMOs are bad.
Why GM Food Is Bad
The first and biggest, and in fact most frightening fact is that the consequences in relation to your health of eating GMO ingredients is mostly unknown. Foods and ingredients that have been genetically engineered have not been tested to any safe extent meaning that the consequences of eating them are unknown as yet. It has the same ring as when trans-fats were introduced, when it took more than a decade before we learned that they were so bad for our health by then it was too late.
Many scientists have voiced concerns over the fact that once GM foods are absorbed into the body, they can pass on the mutated genes into the bacteria responsible for a health digestive system, which could be serious bad news for Western health.
Something else frightening in America, GMOs are not labelled!
Thankfully, here in the UK we are covered by the EU directive to ban GMOs and there are plenty of other countries across the global who have taken the same decision in the interest of the people's health.
Genetic engineered foods can also reduce genetic diversity over time. When genes are diverse they tend to be stronger it can be seen throughout nature including in animals and plants. Pure breeds are prone to more health issues than those containing a good mix of genes. Less genetic diversity caused by GMOs being introduced into the food chain could have disastrous results, including crops and even people being struck down too easily by illness and disease.
BIG problem number four once these mutated and modified genes are created and let loose, that's it, there is no going back. A good example is that of the canola plant in North Dakota, after recent testing showed 80% of these plants containing a trans-gene that was not caused by nature but by intervention.
One argument of many of these large GM companies is that GM foods can help to conquer world famine and hunger, however research has shown no increase in food yield and there has not been any decrease in the use of pesticides in domestic foods. Monsanto itself have even admitted to seeing lower yields with their GM crops.
Back to the studies into GM products and the health consequences, GM foods have not been proven safe for consumption, however the little research that has been done doesn't look so great. One study saw lab rats being fed GM potatoes, and the results were signs of chronic wasting, while another study on female rats given GM herbicide-resistant soybeans saw large numbers of rats giving birth to sterile and stunted young, a very frightening idea that this is what we could be doing in our own food chain.
So then, now you know why they are so bad, how do you avoid them!?
How To Avoid GM Foods
There is a big problem when answering this question, it is extremely difficult to avoid GM foods, but not impossible.
Many of the retailers here in the UK who previously sold GM-free foods are having to remove their labels as they are claiming that there is not enough GM-free animal and plant feed available globally to sustain GM-free products. So the basic of it is that if you want guaranteed GM-free foods, you have to shop local and shop organic. If you eat meat, then this may be more difficult as you will then need to vet the products to discover where the animal's feed is coming from and where the ingredients are sourced from. It's not an easy job, but eventually you will be able to find your own local suppliers that you can trust and rely on.