Grown Here at Home: GMOs in plants and their impact on your health

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) GMOs are a topic that's been sparking debates for quite some. But what are they?

“It stands for genetically modified organism. So it's anything that has been modified in a lab by humans,” said Kathleen Reed of the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Roanoke.

Kathleen says one reason plants are being modified is to allow farmers to spray less pesticides.

“But there's also a lot of things GMOs can be used for. Whether it's increasing drought tolerance of plants, especially now that our climate's changing. That's something that we need to think about, that not all plants are adapted well to growing.

“You also see plants that are going to grow more per acre, so they're going to produce more plants, which as we're increasing our world population we need to think of solutions for how we're going to be able to feed the 9 billion people that are expected to be on our planet in 2050,” she explained.

The main GMOs you'll see around these parts are corn and soybeans.

“Those are typically going to be in processed foods because those are products that are ground up and put into lots of products that are put into those kind of foods. So they're going to be the foods you're going to see in the middle aisles more or less where you're going to have your processed products,” Kathleen said.

Kathleen says most of the produce you consume is not a GMO.

“When you're shopping in your produce aisle, especially your broccoli and your lettuce and all of those kind of things that you're buying that are whole fruits and vegetables are not going to be genetically modified.
As far as the research behind the health or health consequences of GMOs an overwhelming majority of scientific evidence and research shows that GMOs have no adverse effect on health,” she explained.

If you still have concerns about GMOs here's what you can do.

“I really encourage people to maybe shop locally a little bit or try and buy your produce from a farmer that you can ask him about where they're getting their seeds from or their practices. And then you can also grow your own, so maybe think about having a little garden plot or growing a container of tomatoes in your backyard or on your porch,” Kathleen said.