According to The New York Times, almost all processed foods in the United States for the past decade, including dressings, cereals, and prepackaged snack foods, have included ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a lab. They were genetically modified through a technicality called gene technology, modern biotechnology, or recombinant DNA technology. Gene technology for your food? No thank you. Buzzfeed has collected seven foods that have gone GMO-crazy.
1. These “FrankenFish” will beat the you-know-what out of your standard Atlantic salmon. Currently under review by the FDA, the AquAdvantage salmon have “the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon,” according to AquaBounty Technologies, and “are identical to other Atlantic salmon.” Sounds like a win-win business model. But environmentalists say these farmed fish can escape their enclosures, and are concerned that with mega-salmon in the wild, natural salmon populations will decline even faster than they already are. As for the humans eating them, Food & Water Watch notes in its “FrankenFish” report, “Long-term studies have yet to be conducted to assess human health risks associated with eating transgenic fish.”
2. Finally, science gives us tomatoes that will ensure we never have to eat those awful, tasteless blueberries again. The darker color is meant to give tomatoes a pigment known as anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in fruits like blueberries that may help fight cancer. “With these purple tomatoes you can get the same compounds that are present in blueberries and cranberries that give them their health benefits,” says Professor Cathie Martin, one of the developers at the John Innes Centre in the U.K. “But you can apply them to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and are reasonably affordable.”
A new study out of Sweden, however, shows antioxidants in large doses can actually be harmful to people with certain kinds of cancer. And critics of GMOs say we don’t need blomatoes: “Nature has already designed all the right foods we need to ‘fight cancer,’” Michele Simon, the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, told BuzzFeed. “We just need the junk food industry to stop promoting all the wrong foods that cause it.”
3. If the pig poop is toxic, don’t change the food. Change the pig. What do you do when you have too much toxic pig poop around? Genetically modify your pigs so they make cleaner poop, duh. Typical pig feed in the U.S. and Canada consists of corn and other cereal grains, which, as even humans know, aren’t easy to digest. The phosphorous in these grains is a particular problem, as it comes out the other end in the form of phosphorous-laden pig poop, which can make its way into nearby water supplies. Farmers, therefore, supplement pig feed with an enzyme called phytase to help the pigs digest and absorb the phosphorous. But the added phytase doesn’t do a particularly good job and the toxic poo is still a problem. Enter Canadian Enviropigs, which are engineered to make phytase themselves, making their poop a whole lot cleaner.
It’s worth noting that wild pigs, which aren’t raised on cereal grains, don’t need phytase to digest their food. “The problem isn’t with the pigs,” said Cathy Holtslander of Beyond Factory Farming. “The problem of hog operations polluting the water has to do with the whole industrialization scale that has been developed to raise hogs.”
(Consumer resistance to the Enviropig led the University of Guelph to halt the project.)
Want to read the rest of these food frauds? Click here to be taken to the original story on Buzzfeed.