About five years ago, the debate about genetically modified ingredients was at a peak. In some states, bills were introduced to ensure that companies using GMO ingredients identified them on the packaging. That led to a series of articles on the safety of using GMOs in various foods, including baby formula.
Several brands of baby food were found to contain GMO soy. Is it safe for your child? Let’s have a look and see and check out this toddler guide for other great tips.
What Is GMO Food?
GMO food is grown using biotechnology. The food has been subject to genetic modification.
Why Is Food Genetically Modified?
Food producers who use genetic modification do it for the following reasons:
- Help adapt a plant to a particular climate or growing condition
- Protect the plant against common diseases
- Improve resilience to pests and pesticides
- Increase yield and decrease the resources needed to grow that plant.
Is This a Bad Thing?
The concern about GMO foods is that their genes have been changed from their natural state. The goal is to produce more food using fewer resources. For example, a scientist might add the genes of a fish to a tomato so that it fares better in cold weather.
Those who grow these crops often state that, without GMO, there wouldn’t be enough food to feed the steadily increasing global population. From that perspective, I can understand their point. I’m even willing to concede that the tech could be useful in countries that can’t feed themselves.
There’s a Price to Pay
The problem is that this tech comes at a very high cost. For starters, we’re getting less nutritious food. They’re using fewer resources and producing more crops, which means fewer resources per plant and fewer nutrients in the plant too.
Secondly, it’s unsettling to think about how far we’re deviating from the natural form of these plants. The further we get from the original design, the further it seems we’re moving away from “real” food. We don’t know what the long-term impact of that is—we’re in unchartered waters.
Finally, when a farmer is only concerned about improving yield, what other tactics are they employing? Are they dousing those crops with a lot of pesticides? How much attention are they paying to healthy soil management?
Authorities Consider GMO Foods Safe
Despite a lot of hesitation from the general population, GMO foods have been around for a couple of decades now. In that time, no serious safety issues have emerged. As a result, the authorities consider these foods safe.
Are They Safe for Babies?
We might have been eating GMO foods for twenty-odd years, but your baby hasn’t. Infants have far more sensitive digestive tracts and are still building a healthy immune system. My concern with GMO baby food is that we don’t know exactly what we’re getting.
Is GMO baby food providing optimal levels of nutrients? Is there any pesticide residue in there? The answer to the first question is anyone’s guess. The answer to the second question is, yes, probably. If a plant is drenched in pesticide, it’s going to soak in. That residue will make its way down into the final product.
I prefer to err on the side of caution with this one. I like to know exactly what I’m feeding my baby. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-GMO formulas out there, you can check out this https://www.hmhb.org/best-baby-formulas/ for some great examples.
In some areas in the world, GMO foods might prove to be a good answer. They allow large amounts of food to be grown in regions that are typically less fruitful due to climate or lack of land. Thankfully, in the States, we have a lot more choice. We can choose to monitor what our children eat a lot more carefully.