What’s In Your Food?

High quality food is critical for the health and well-being of not only our bodies, but also the environment and community. How food is produced has a tremendous impact on our world, from farm to table and every step in between. At Oryana Natural Foods Market, we strongly oppose the proliferation of genetically modified foods.

What are genetically modified foods?

Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM) is the laboratory process of artificially manipulating genes of one species and inserting them into the DNA of a different species. The result is called a genetically modified organism (GMO).

GMOs can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Genetic engineering is an imprecise technique that can lead to unpredictable results because under current technology, it's impossible to exactly guide the insertion of a gene from one species into a totally different species.

In the U.S., our food supply is rapidly becoming saturated with GMOs. Currently, up to 96% of corn is genetically engineered as is 95% of soybeans. It has been estimated that 80% of processed foods on supermarket shelves-from soda to soup, crackers to condiments-contain genetically engineered ingredients.

The Effects of GMOs on our Health

â? ̈ In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GMOs in food, citing a number of animal studies that show there is, "more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

A 2012 study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the U.S. food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems.

The Effects of GMOs on our Environment

In 2005, 71% of all GM crops grown were genetically engineered to be pesticide resistant. This means that a field can now be sprayed with chemicals and everything will die except for the resistant crop. This can result in farmlands devoid of wildlife and will spell disaster for millions of already declining birds, bees and plants.

Monsanto, the world's leading producer of GMOs, claims that GMOs are absolutely needed because they will save the world from environmental catastrophe and human hunger. Yet a 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer reviewed research revealed that GE has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. They concluded that: "Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down."

Oryana believes that there is enough evidence to take precautionary action to get GMOs out of our food to protect human and environmental health.

What You Can Do

– Visit nongmoshoppingguide.com to obtain a copy of the Non-GMO Shopper's Guide compiled by the Center for Food Safety.

– Buy products that are certified organic. All ingredients in certified organic products are not allowed to contain GMOs.

– Unless they are certified organic, avoid the Big Four ingredients that are the most commonly genetically engineered: corn, soy, canola and cotton.

– Write your elected government representatives and let them know that you want GMOs out of our food. Request that food that is genetically engineered be labeled. We have a right to know.

– Get to know local farmers who are going the extra mile to produce food sustainably without the use of GMOs. Set your priorities and invest in these local farmers.

– Enroll your business in the Non-GMO Project. For more information check out www.nongmoproject.org

At Oryana, we are strongly opposed to the proliferation of genetically modified foods and believe that the use of GMOs contradicts our mission of providing high quality food grown in ecologically sound ways at fair value to the community. Oryana also believes that connecting with local farmers who are striving to grow food sustainably is critically important to creating a resilient, healthy local food economy.

Luise Bolleber is the Outreach and Marketing Specialist at Oryana Natural Foods Market in Traverse City. Learn more about GMOs and healthy eating at Oryana.coop.