A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, bacteria or virus whose genetic makeup has been modified using gene splicing. This is not a natural process and creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature.
The vast majority of corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet crops grown in North America are genetically modified. This means that the vast majority of packaged foods contain GMO ingredients.
The safety of GMOs remains an open question since few human studies have been conducted. But crossbreeding of any type creates new genetic combinations, and we’ve been crossbreeding plants for centuries – so this is a lesser concern.
The greater danger of GMOs may be the pesticides associated with them, particularly since 80% of GMO crops are bioengineered for pesticide resistance alone.
For example, Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans are the number one GMO crop, and they have been found to have significantly higher pesticide residues than conventional, non-GMO and organic soy.
Monsanto maintains that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. So, according to Monsanto, the fact that glyphosate, the main component of Roundup, has been detected in human blood and human tissues should not be of concern.
However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria. And if you read my blog about the gut biome you know that bacteria in our bodies vastly outnumber cells. And that the gut biome is emerging as a central determinant of health and disease.
The science around the implications of all of this is still emerging. But, in the meantime, at Step One we take no chances with your health. All of our foods are made with GMO free ingredients. You may be using our products to help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level, but we’re here to help you maintain your best health all around.