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GMOs: Potentially harmful ingredients

Sam Dutton
Opinion Editor

gmo_breakdwonAs a college student, cereal is an important part of our diet. It’s both inexpensive and versatile; you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight snack. While on my way to Weis for a quick shopping trip, I passed picketers boycotting Kellogg’s. I wondered why in the world people would want to boycott the maker of sugary cereal children grow up on. I have seen picketers rallying for contracts, and protesting legislature, but cereal? I just had to find out what this was all about.
As it turns out, Kellogg’s cereal is chock-full of GMOs, also known as genetically modified organisms. According to Organicauthority.com, genetically modified organisms are created when a gene from one species is transferred to another. For companies like Kellogg’s, the GMOs are the product of tweaking the DNA of domestic crops such as soybeans and grains that are found in our cereal.
Genetically engineered foods have not been proven safe to eat. We are all familiar with evil trans-fats, which are genetically modified like the GMOs. When trans-fats were first introduced, they were filling the shelves of our grocery stores. However, years later, we discovered their harmful effects and now fewer people buy products containing them.
Why is it that we should be concerned about GMOs in foods such as our cereal? In short it is because genes from bacteria and viruses are spliced into the DNA of these created plants, exposing us to a whole host of little organisms that we did not bargain for when we purchased our cereal.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine formally stated that “GMOs have not been properly tested and pose a serious health risk.” Animal studies have been conducted that show that reproductive problems, compromised immunity, accelerated aging, blood sugar imbalances, and harm to major organs result from consumption of GMOs.
Aside from the health problems these genetically engineered organisms can bring to the consumer, they are bad for the environment. It is inevitable that GMOs will contaminate crops, and furthermore GMOs contribute to pollution because they are designed to withstand greater applications of herbicides and pesticides.
People have selected the week of earth day to bring their protest of Kellogg’s to the forefront. Protesters are pleading with Kellogg’s to ban the production of GMOs in their products, or at least label the packages that contain GMOs so that the consumer is aware of what they are buying.
After hearing all this, it was enough to deter me from buying that box of Apple Jacks I had gone shopping for. Kashi cereal, which is a product of Kellogg’s, has also been found to contain GMOs. And this is supposed to be the more expensive, healthy cereal.
It’s important to be knowledgeable about what you put into your body. Yes, for a college student, an organic diet may not be financially practical, but it is the most healthy option for you down the road. Learn the facts and think twice about what you purchase the next time you find yourself in a grocery or convenience store.