Are GMO foods making me sick?

You're not eating the same sweet potato pie and collard greens as your great-grandparents. In an effort...

You're not eating the same sweet potato pie and collard greens as your great-grandparents. In an effort to make crops more pest resistant, seeds are often genetically altered. These genetically modified organisms, also known as GMO, may be good for crop yields, but are they just as good for your dinner plate?

About altered foods
Bioengineered foods must meet the same regulations and standards as non-altered foods, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, in theory they are just as safe to eat as other foods approved by the FDA.

So, what's all the fuss about? There's speculation that pesticides and herbicides are being injected into the seeds. These chemicals later become part of the mature, harvested food item and may become a health concern for consumers. According to the FDA, they abide by government-mandated tolerance levels of pesticides and other "additives" used to modify foods.

Food and Health
Since characteristics of various foods are being melded into new foods, hidden allergens are also a concern. For example, if a soybean gene is introduced into a tomato seed, the new GMO tomato may cause an allergic reaction in people with a soy allergy, according to the FDA. The soy gene is added to the tomato seed in an effort to make a tomato plant more drought resistant.

State and federal government agencies are currently discussing how to label GMO foods for consumers, according to a January 2013 New York Times article. Mega food producers and retailers, such as ConAgra, Wal-Mart and PepsiCo, agree genetically modified foods should be properly identified.

Want to know more about GMO foods and how they affect your health? Visit a doctor in Atlanta to discuss dietary choices and food allergens.

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