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Genetically Modified Organisms
 

You can see foods in the shops labeled 'contains GMOs.' This is to give you a choice.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are created by scientists in the laboratory by taking genes from one species and adding them to another. For example, genes may be taken from bacteria and added to a plant. It is the same idea as crossbreeding plants to get the color of flowers you want. But with GMOs it is quicker and more accurate as it allows just one individual gene, or a small number of genes, to be inserted into a plant (or animal) to change it in a specific way. Most notably, it allows gene transfer between different species that couldn't possibly interbreed using traditional techniques.

Are GM foods safe?

When genetic modification (GM) is used in food production, each product has to be assessed for safety before it can be sold anywhere in the EU.

Concerns about GMOs mainly relate to their potential impact on the environment. Some GMO crops have been made tolerant to certain herbicides to assist in weed control. A worry is that if they interbreed with weeds, we could get super-resistant weeds. Others are made resistant to specific (insects) pests so that crop damage is reduced. The worry there is that there may be effects on other insects and on species that feed on insects. In theory at least, GM techniques could be used to improve the environment, however, none has been demonstrated in practice.

If you want to spot GM food:

Under EU law, the presence of GM has to be labeled as GM, as long as it can be detected in the final product. The two main GM crops we may be eating are Soya and maize (corn). Soya and Maize derivatives are found in around 80% of processed foods.

GM Soya and Maize derivatives such as proteins and flour have to be labeled as GM.

Other derivatives obtained from soya and maize does not have to be labeled. They include soya or maize oil, starch, emulsifier, lecithin, glucose, fructose, dextrose, mono and diglycerides, malodextrin and sorbitol.

GM may also be used in our food chain because GM crops can be fed to farm animals like chickens, pigs and cows. There is no requirement to label foods from animals fed on GM-crops because of the difficulty of distinguishing them from foods derived from animals fed on conventional feed. The idea of tracing GMs along the food chain is being considered by the European Commission but has not yet been adopted.

Source: http://www.net-consumers.org/erica/food/gmos.htm

 
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