A genetically modified organism (GMO) is created in the lab using scientific methods to splice characteristics or traits of one plant on to the DNA of another plant in order to obtain a desired result (such as resistance to pests to produce higher yield crops). While on the outside this may appear to be a potentially beneficial process for humans, the negatives associated with genetic engineering (GE) and genetic modification (GM) are quite substantial.

The Organic Consumer's Association (OCA) has a summary of the major hazards of promoting genetically engineered crops and foods, and here are the highlights:
Toxins and poisons, causing disabilities, short and long-term health problems, and even death in some cases.
Increased cancer risk because of genetically engineered hormones given to feed animals.
Skyrocketing food allergies as a result of foreign proteins being spliced into the gene structures of our foods.
Reduced food quality and nutritional values.
Increased exposure to pesticide residues because of the agrochemicals being used on GE crops (contrary to GE propaganda which argues that these crops don't need as many chemical treatments).
Genetic pollution as bees, birds, and insects pollute non-GMO crops with GM genetic matter, resulting in the potential loss of wild species of plants and insects.
Reduction in the populations of beneficial insects and soil fertility.
Contributions to the creation of superbugs and superweeds as well as new viruses and pathogens as these pests become immune to the herbicides and pesticides genetically built into GE crops.
Dismantling of small farm systems that support farming families.

Examples of genetically modified foods
There are only a few GM vegetables and fruits that are allowed to be distributed and/or grown in the US, yet because these are highly versatile foods, they can be found in a vast number of processed and prepared foods - everything from soda to potato chips to veggie burgers to pasta.

These are the genetically engineered crops allowed in the US food supply:
Corn (including canola and corn oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc)
Cotton (including cottonseed oil)

How to Avoid GMO food
Read the PLU labels. If the five digit PLU number starts with "8," the food is either genetically modified or genetically engineered (not all GM foods can be identified because PLU labeling is optional). If the five digit PLU number starts with "9," it's organic. Also, by watching for the absence of either the 8 or 9, which means the produce is neither organically grown or genetically modified, you can recognize traditionally grown produce.

Buy foods labeled "100% certified organic." Laws in both the U.S. and Canada do not allow food labels that say "100% certified organic" to contain any genetically engineered food, including animals that have been fed genetically modified feed. Be aware, however, that if the food is simply labeled "organic" it can still contain genetically modified ingredients up to 30%.

Look for the labels "non-GM" or "GMO-free." These can be hard to find, but if you are able to support manufacturers that produce foods that are not genetically engineered you encourage other manufacturers to follow their lead.

Buy whole, fresh foods rather than processed ones. Foods that you cook and prepare yourself are almost always healthier than anything you can buy ready-made.

Film Duration: 84 min