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Genetically Modified Organisms are a hot topic these days and are often simply referred to as GMOs. There are growing concerns by consumers about the safety of GMO products. Despite the lack of scientific evidence that GMOs present dietary or environmental risk, consumers and the media are anxious over the potential risks of GMO products and are seeking to inform themselves with, perhaps, prejudicial food labeling. There is also scientific debate about if there is evidence that genetically-modified crops cause harm.

GMOs are used in research, production of pharmaceutical products and with gene therapy. GMOs have been used in our food supply for more than 20 years. Agriculture has benefitted from GMOs; they boost yields, protect crops from tough conditions such as drought and reduce pesticide use. They also have the potential of improving nutrition. An example is Golden Rice which delivers Vitamin A to consumers in developing nations that have a high risk of deficient amounts of Vitamin A in their diets.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, GMOs do not present any health risks. Corn and soybeans are the most commonly genetically modified crops grown in the United States. Quite often these crops are used as animal feed and as an ingredient in food products. The Food & Drug Administration requires that “food and food ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants must adhere to the same safety requirements under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that apply to food and food ingredients derived from traditionally bred plants.”

There have not been any proven ill effects on the human population. There are advocacy groups that are strongly opposed to GMOs in our food supply and would like more research done and would also like GMO products labeled. At this point, the Food & Drug Administration supports voluntary labeling of GMO products.

This entire controversy may be more emotional and political rather than science-based. Ultimately, we have hard scientific evidence that eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other plant foods helps to decrease risks for many diseases and promotes good health. As the conjecture and apprehension increase, it is important to stay pro-nutrition.

This information is provided by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) which brings healthy soy information to consumers along with education about the many uses for soybeans. For more information about the MSPC, contact us at 989-652-3294 or visit us on the web at www.michigansoybean.org.

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