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You may be asking yourself are GMO's safe to eat? A lot of what you hear through the
media is scary. Let's take a few minutes to put it in perspective.
Nashville, Ark. – Seems like everywhere you turn, you hear a conversation about GMOs
or Genetically Modified Organisms. You may be asking yourself are they safe? GMO is
a process of changing the way a plant or animal expresses genes. A lot of what you
hear through the media is scary. Let’s take a few minutes to put it in perspective.
For years, the agriculture industry has been changing genes from living
things using hybridization and selective breeding. If you have eaten a red delicious
apple, seedless watermelons or broccoli, you have eaten a food product that has been
changed genetically. None of these food items grow in the wild. They are cultivated
crops, as are the many of the fruits and vegetables we buy each week. In fact, almost
all of our food is created through genetic manipulation. Modern technology allows
these changes to be done more precisely.
So how do GMO’s end up in food? The media tells us that 70% of all foods
contain GMO’s. This is because many foods use corn, soybean or canola oil, corn-derived
sweeteners or starch, soy proteins, or other compounds produced from these plants
– and almost all of the corn and soybeans grown in the US are GMO.
Should you be concerned? No. Anytime we eat something, whether it is plant
or animal, we are eating DNA. Strawberries, carrots and eggs contain DNA and when
we eat those foods our digestive system breaks the DNA down into basic components.
Fact is our bodies do not absorb DNA. The same is true for GMO DNA. It is broken down
along with DNA in the food when we eat it.
Claims that eating GMO’s will alter our health and/or cause cancer are
unscientific and false. Another fear that is sometimes linked to GMO foods is that
it may cause an allergic reaction. Rest assured that no allergenic response to a GMO
food has ever been documented and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) make sure that no potential allergenic proteins
are used in GMOs that could end up in the food system. Keep in mind, the United States
is the most regulated country when it comes to the food we eat.
Another myth is related to the GMO’s in sweeteners and oils. Again there
is no reason to worry about GMO in these products. The ingredients in these products
are highly purified and contain no DNA or proteins at all.
Major health organizations have reviewed the safety of GMO foods. They
have found no evidence they cause health concerns. GMO foods have been around for
over 20 years with no link to any illness or disease. You can be confident that eating
foods that have GMO ingredients or have been developed using GMO technology are healthy
Foods marketed as non-GMO foods are not any healthier for you. They only
cost more! So enjoy those seedless grapes!
This article was adapted from an article by Dr. Ruth MacDonald, Professor
and Chair, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University.
Dr. MacDonald wrote a similar article for the Spend Smart, Eat Smart website published
by Iowa State University.
If you would like to learn more about GMO’s go to www.GMOanswers.com. For more information about food safety concerns, visit the Howard County Extension
located on the second floor of the courthouse. Or you may call our office at 870-845-7517.
Recipe of the Week
Here is a great fall recipe for you to use at your Halloween parties.
Deb Kreul, president of the Howard County Extension Homemakers Council, shared this
recipe at the recent EHC Fall Council meeting. If you are interested in learning more
about EHC, contact the Extension office.
Haunted Graveyard Dip
1 c. chocolate chips
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
9 Oreos, crushed (1 c.)
Black decorating gel icing
3 Milano cookies
Candy corn pumpkins
Graham crackers or vanilla wafers
Put chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate on 30 second
bursts, stirring in between. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla
and salt. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy and well mixed. Transfer to serving
bowl and top with crushed Oreos. Using black decorating icing, write RIP, BOO, etc.
on Milano cookies. Sink them into the dip.
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.