Ohio -- Navigating the latest in what foods to eat and what to stay away from can be overwhelming.  

When it comes to genetically modified organisms in terms of food, a recent study from the Pew Research Center finds roughly half of Americans think those items are not good for people’s health compared to non-genetically modified foods. 

We set out to briefly explain three big questions surrounding the topic. 


What exactly are genetically modified foods? 

The World Health Organization defines them as “foods derived from organisms whose DNA has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally.”

That definition can cover a lot of items. Roughly 70 percent of processed foods in grocery stores have reportedly been modified.

Along with corn and canola, the Non-GMO Project lists sugar beats, soy, and zucchini as some “high-risk”, widely available foods.


What is the purpose of genetically modified food?

Modified foods can make crops more resistant to pests and disease, and as Case Western Reserve University biology professor Christopher Cullis explains, the items can help increase the world’s food supply.

“It’s food security and also nutritional security," he said. "It’s not just enough food, but it’s also enough food of the right nutritional value, and that’s another part of that whole process." 


Can modified foods harm us? 

According to Cullis, scientists have looked at every angle of the issue. 

"We can’t find anything that’s significant," he said. "But if you ask me, can I say there is zero chance that something bad might happen, I can’t say zero, because there’s nothing that has a zero chance.” 

But there are plenty against GMOs, citing reasons like a lack of longterm studies of health impact, and the hit family farmers’ bottom lines could take since large corporations now own the bulk of the seed market

It’s a hot button issue, and now the U.S. Department of Agriculture is getting involved, too.

POLITICO reports the department's new rule outlining how companies must label modified ingredients will be unveiled “any day now.”