We see only what we seek. We look only for what we know

Goethe

 

Our food, because it is largely industrially refined, is more than 50 percent based on imported products, and many of these are GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Four nations produce more than 90 percent of the world's GMO crops-Canada, the United States, Brazil and Argentina. GMO products are basically soybean, corn, canola, cotton. In the United States also sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, squash. All GMO soybean and some varieties of GMO corn are produced to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosfate (Roundup),

Soybeans are by far the most widely grown transgenic crop in the world.

 

What are GMOs?

GMOs are the result of laboratory procedures in which DNA genes from one species are extracted and artificially implanted into the genes of a different plant or animal species. The extracted genes come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or humans. Because gene transfer is involved, GMOs are also called "transgenic organisms." The process is also known as genetic engineering or genetic modification-these are synonyms.

 

What is a gene?

Every living thing, whether plant or animal or human, is made up of cells; each cell has a nucleus, which in turn, contains DNA: genes are DNA sequences. Genes regulate through complex reactions the life processes of living things.

 

How does genetic engineering take place?

Living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves from the introduction of DNA from different species. Therefore, genetic engineering must force the introduction of DNA from one organism into another. How does this take place?

  • Using viruses or bacteria to "infect" the cells of the animal or plant with the new DNA.
  • By inserting DNA into tiny metal balls that are "fired" with a special gun into the cells.
  • Injecting the new DNA into fertilized oocytes with a very fine needle.
  • By creating through electrical stimuli "holes" in the sperm's lining membrane so that DNA can be introduced there.

 

But is genetic engineering accurate?

Genetic engineering technology is currently still crude: it is not possible to transfer a new gene precisely; moreover, its transfer can disrupt the finely controlled functions of DNA in an organism. Any modification of an organism's DNA can have consequences that are impossible to predict or control: e.g., the new gene can alter the chemical reactions or functions of the cell: instability of the cell, the creation of new toxins or allergens, and changes in the nutritional value of a food may result. Basically, there are 3 dangers of consuming GMO foods: the introduction of transgenic material with alteration of plant biochemistry; high exposure to glyphosate herbicide (remember that 80% of GMO crops are glyphosate tolerant); and mutagenic effects due to the GMO process.

 

How to avoid GMO foods?

Many of the foods we normally buy may contain genetically modified ingredients, including baby food, dairy products and meats. Fortunately, in Europe when a product has a GMO content of more than 0.9 percent there is a requirement to label it as "genetically modified." It is therefore essential to learn about these foods and read the ingredient list carefully.

  1. LEARN ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS AND THEIR USE IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY. The following products are often genetically manipulated:
    1. Soybeans - soybeans have been genetically modified to increase their resistance to herbicides. Soybeans may contain: soybean meal, soy protein, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable protein, tofu, tamari, tempeh, soy protein supplements.
    2. Corn -A genetically modified variety of corn contains genetic material of Bacillus Thuringiensis useful in the production of a BT toxin capable of poisoning insect pests. Often these corn varieties are also resistant to different types of herbicides. Corn is hidden in many ready-to-eat and packaged foods under the name corn starch, glucose and fructose, corn fructose syrup.
    3. Canola and Canola - both crops have been genetically modified to become more resistant to herbicides.
    4. Sugar beet - genetically modified to resist an herbicide used by U.S. giant Monsanto.
    5. Rice - the one genetically modified to resist herbicides should not yet be available for human food, but some quantities of genetically modified long grain rice (LLRICE601) have been entered in both the United States and Europe. A new strain of rice, golden rice, has recently been created to increase the natural production of beta carotene, which our bodies use to produce vitamin A. Golden rice is still being tested, and it has not yet been determined whether human intake can be without risk.
    6. Aspartame - Dangerous and addictive artificial sweeteners are commonly included in candy, chewing gum, and diet drinks. Part of the structure of aspartame, the amino acid phenylalanine, is commonly created industrially with the help of Escherichia coli bacteria. This process has been used in American industries and beyond for years.
  1. BUY 100% ORGANIC FOOD. A product declared as 100% organic cannot contain genetically modified ingredients or be derived from animals fed GMO food. It is good to know that a product certified as organic and not as 100% organic may contain genetically modified ingredients!!!
  1. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK WHERE THE MEAT YOU EAT COMES FROM. 100% ORGANIC MEATS ARE A GUARANTEE. BUY MEAT FROM PROPER FARMS, PREFERABLY RAISED ON GRASS AND HAY.Much of the feed is composed of genetically manipulated corn, soy or canola. Producers are not required by law to declare the presence of GMOs in feed, and as a result consumers have no information about products derived from animals that have been fed GMOs: poultry, eggs, pigs, fish, cattle, milk, cheese, as well as egg pastries, cookies, cakes, etc. The only way is to find out about the way of farming, ask questions, go to visit the farm and talk to the farmer, having him explain how he feeds his animals. Look for meat from organic farms.
  1. LOOK FOR PRODUCTS THAT CARRY THE NO GMO LABEL ON THE LABEL. The Internet is an excellent source of information; you can check which supermarkets guarantee non-GMO foods. Then talking to the managers of the different stores where you usually shop is certainly the best thing to do. Also, remember to buy organic food produced in Italy, looking very carefully at the label that says agriculture Italy and not EU, because organic products produced in Italy should be GMO-free.
  1. BUY KILOMETER ZERO. Most products containing GMO foods come from large retailers. We are fortunate to live in a small region, where there are local farmers' markets, where you can personally go to producers of animals, fruits and vegetables who also sell to individuals, you can join a GAS (solidarity buying group).
  1. BUYING HEALTHY FOODS BY PREPARING MEALS THEMSELVES. Avoid bagged, precooked and canned foods, avoid fast foods, where GMO foods are most frequently used. Learn to cook starting with basic foods, the time taken is then the same!!! Over time, convenience grows and speed is gained. But the biggest gain is in health!!! Avoid bagged or long-life bread, make toast with other bread!!! Maybe you get a taste for making your own bread!!! Almost all sausages, canned meat and cured meats are produced with added genetically modified components. Usually products without genetically modified components cannot be so cheap.
  1. When you EAT AT A RESTAURANT, you can ask the waiter if the dishes offered contain GMOs.
  1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD. So you always know exactly what you are eating. E.g. in summer you can grow flavors such as oregano, rosemary, bay leaf, basil, then dry it and put it in jars or directly in the freezer. There are also those on their balconies who grow cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini,...
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