GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are a growing health concern. But what are your other options?
In this edition of "Health Steps with Dr. Ginger," Dr. Ginger talks about the difference between hybrid, GMO and heirloom seeds and their health consequences.
For instance, GMOs are used to produce "Frankenfoods," which are foods that have been genetically engineered to resist things like pests, weeds and other environmental factors. Manufacturers take two organisms which are in no way related, and which would never be found in nature, and combine them to create an super-resistant and robust food.
The motivation behind GMOs is, of course, profits. Companies can patent their organisms or seeds, and make huge amounts of money.
The kicker is that the negative effects of GMOs are still being determined. Some doctors advise new moms to avoid GMO soy baby formulas with their newborns, due to the unknown harm that may be done.
Hybrid seeds are a bit different. There is a natural hybridization process that occurs with unadulterated plants and seeds; and there is a man-made hybridization process that encourages cross pollinization between species... also with the goal of creating a robust food. They are not as dangerous as GMOs, but they are not quite completely natural.
And finally, heirloom seeds are seeds that are simply "open pollinated," meaning that nature takes care of the pollinization and there are no foreign bodies or substances introduced.
Obviously, heirloom seeds and resultant products are the way to go. Unfortunately, many of the large corporations (i.e. Monsanto) are buying up the mom-and-pop heirloom seed producers, reducing their availability.
So, as a consumer, what can you do to ensure food safety for you and your loved ones?
For one, try to go organic whenever you can. Know your food sources - whether you buy locally from a farmer or market, or grow food yourself. Also, you need to become an educated and savvy consumer. Do your research on the foods you buy, and where they come from.