What are Bio-Engineered Foods?

Aug 1, 2023
Bio-engineered foods are getting a lot of buzz lately since they're popping up more in our food ingredients. At Trash Panda, we’re all about transparency, so we thought we’d approach this topic by digging into what these foods are, if there are any health impacts, how to find them on an ingredient label, and more!

What are Bio-Engineered Foods?

Bio-engineered foods are a type of genetically modified organism (GMO). But we want to know, what does that even mean? In layman’s terms, it means GMOs are living organisms that scientists artificially manipulate in a lab using genetic engineering: blending plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes in ways you won't find in nature or traditional crossbreeding.

Are there Health Impacts?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Academy of Sciences say that bio-engineered foods are safe to eat and don’t pose any risks to our health. However, ongoing scientific studies are raising red flags about possible allergies and the chance that these foods could lead to diseases resistant to antibiotics. They have also been linked to health issues such as immuno-suppression and loss of nutrients.

Why Bio-Engineer Foods?

As with any GMO, people bio-engineer foods to protect them from viruses and pests. And to give their crops desirable traits like better color and size, as well as enhancing the flavor. Plus, bio-engineering foods might give foods a longer shelf life, for better or for worse. Although some say it could help with food shortages worldwide, when foods have a longer shelf life it typically means they are super processed and contain additives to keep them "fresh". Just something to watch out for.

How we at Trash Panda Interpret Bio-Engineered Foods

We flag ingredients like canola oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and refined sugar, which are some of the most common foods produced from bio-engineered crops.

How to Look For Bio-Engineered Ingredients

The phrase "Contains a Bio-Engineered Food Ingredient" or some variation of it is required on foods since January 1, 2022. Here are some other ways your products may be labeled:
"Bioengineered food"
A QR code to "scan here for more food information"
Either of the following icons:
The following are the most common bio-engineered foods:
Alfalfa
Apple
Canola
Corn
Cotton
Eggplant
Papaya
Pineapple
Potato
Salmon
Soybean
Squash
Sugarbeet
As always, it's super important to read the label carefully and choose foods that you feel good about eating! Use Trash Panda to find your good.
Reading ingredients made easy. For quicker, healthier decisions.
Start Scanning (it's free)