GMO Foods and College Students: How Safe are GMOs?
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 16:10
I’ve always been a very health-conscious person. When I eat out I tend to get a soup and a salad, staying away from anything deep fried or covered in sauce. I’m a tiny person, but that’s because I’m healthy and work out quite excessively. The food I eat plays a major part in how I feel and how healthy I am in the long run. The different types of food available to a college student seem quite limited.
When I first moved to Fargo about three months ago, I had already signed up for a seven-day meal plan. This was a big mistake on my part. I had not anticipated that I would also have way too much health food in my room. I have so much healthy food in my residence hall room because I am aware of genetically modified foods and the potential harm they can cause to the human body, and well, anything’s body really.
Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs have been a big thing in the news lately. Do they cause harm to people? Why? Why not? A growing body of scientific research shows that yes, they are actually harmful.
I did a bit of research and stumbled upon responsibletechnology.org. What a gold mine. The site show a list of studies done on rats and the effects that genetically modified foods had on them; everything from causing new severe allergies to causing cancerous and precancerous cells.
There is plenty of research to be done on this topic, but in the meantime I’m sticking to non-GMO project verified foods. When something is labeled as organic, that does not necessarily mean that it does not contain GMOs.
According to nongmoproject.org, “While the National Organic Program (NOP) identifies genetic modification as an excluded method, GMOs are not a prohibited substance.” This means that although GMO seeds are not supposed to be planted, and GMO ingredients are not supposed to be used, no testing is required.
In the past I had thought that organic foods were the safest bet. I had a personal chef job in which I encouraged my clients to only eat certified organic foods and bought only organic foods for them. I made my family eat only organic foods. We hardly ever ate out just because of that. I thought I was making a safe choice. Now I’m more informed and actively avoid GMO foods, but that does not mean it is easy or cheap.
Back to my seven-day meal plan that I rarely use—usually only once a week, because it would be a tremendous waste of money to not use it at all—what kind of foods are we being fed in the dining centers? I would like to know just how many of the foods contain GMOs or do not contain GMOs.
I’d like to encourage students to buy more non-GM foods and eat at the dining centers less, until the dining centers make a public statement and a dedicated change to using as many non-GM foods as possible. If this means a jump in the price for all of the meal plans, I would be alright with that. My health means more to me than money.
Rhianna is a freshman majoring in journalism.