Genetically modified (GM) foods are the result of genetic engineering that changes the crops' DNA. Scientists use genetic engineering to produce crops that tolerate weed-killing herbicides or are resistant to harmful pests. The purpose of genetically engineering food crops is to increase yields and improve quality. Tomatoes have even been genetically modified to maintain their freshness longer.
Genetically modified soybeans are resistant to herbicides, allowing the herbicide to kill pests without harming the crop. Herbicide resistant genes are taken from bacteria and inserted into soybeans. GM soybeans are used in many products such as tofu, soy beverages, and soy flour. Breads, baked products, pastries, and snack foods may contain GM soybeans.
Corn has been genetically modified to be resistant to some pesticides. GM corn is used in many products such as corn oil, sugar, flour, snack foods, and soft drinks. Sweet corn for animal feed has been genetically modified to produce insecticide for itself. Much of this corn may have found its way into the human food supply.
Genetically modified rice contains high amounts of Vitamin A. Golden Rice, which contains Vitamin A, should help reduce eye diseases and blindness caused by vitamin deficiencies. A GM rice that was engineered to be resistant to an herbicide is approved in the United States.
Tomatoes have been genetically engineered to last longer without rotting to have a longer shelf life. These tomatoes do not contain a substance that causes tomatoes to become rotten.
Some types of potatoes are genetically modified. Snack foods, processed foods containing potatoes, and potato products may contain GM potatoes.
In North America, most vegetable oils used in processed foods and restaurants are made from GM soy, canola, corn or cottonseed. If you want vegetable oils that are not made from GM crops look for oils that are labeled as "Non-GMO" or "Organic".
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