GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism – a plant or animal that has had its DNA altered by inserting one or more genes from bacteria, viruses, or animals in an attempt to introduce a new genetic trait, such as resistance to certain chemicals or pests.
Because some evidence exists that genetically modified foods are implicated in health problems like infertility, immune system disorders, faulty insulin response, and harmful changes in organ systems, GMO food is banned in all of Europe and many other countries. Lobbyists in the United States have ensured that the US Food and Drug Administration does not even require that GMO food be labeled as such.
I suspect that some of these genetic modifications may be harmless, but some may not be. Since we just don’t know the long-term ramifications of these modified foods, and since they create an irreversible impact on the natural ecosystem, I suggest that we all stay away from GMO foods whenever possible. The Institute for Responsible Technology has put out a helpful guide to help you find and choose non-GMO foods.
Some basic ways to avoid genetically modified food are to buy organic food (certified organic products cannot contain any GMOs), and to look for the Non-GMO Project seal.