Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants and animals that have been Genetically Engineered (GE). GE'ing changes the genes and DNA of crops and animals by inserting foreign genes into different crops. For instance, in order to create a tomato that can withstand cold temperatures, scientists may select a gene from a cold water fish and insert this gene into the tomato's DNA. The result is a tomato that can grow in the winter. These crops are sometimes referred to as franken-food.
Unfortunately, the long term effects of eating GM foods are unknown. There have been questions of the risks and stability of experimenting with the delicate nature of the food we eat and is supposed to nourish us. People with allergies are also at risk of reactions if they eat a seemingly harmless food that is spliced with DNA from their allergic source. GM processes requires much more research from impartial and unbiased sources.
Corn, soybeans, cotton and canola are currently the most common GM foods. If you read the labels of your favourite salad dressings, cereals and other prepackaged foods, you will find these four crops are more ubiquitous than you think. The concern is that in Canada there is a voluntary system for labelling food as GM, and the vast majority of companies that use GM products have opted not to label it as so. This means you may be ingesting GM products and not even be aware.
Getting scared yet? Well there's no need to be! In Canada, certified organic products CANNOT be genetically modified. So if you want to steer clear of GM food, eat organic. It's delicious, nutritious, better for the environment than conventionally grown food, and GMO free.