top of page
Bioengineered Ingredients

Confronting Your Food Fears: 
Busting Myths Of ‘Bioengineered Ingredients’

By Dara Mormile

You’ve been snacking on flavored potato chips, mouth-watering gummy candies and delicious salty pretzels your entire life. Now, something is different…As you’re walking down the snack aisle and deciding which naughty treat to throw into your cart, your eye catches a scary nutritional fact in bold black letters on the back of the bag under the ingredient label that says:

“Contains A Bioengineered Food Ingredient”. 

This disclaimer might invoke mechanical and maniacal images of a red-eyed robot sending food strategically down a conveyor belt, injecting your favorite snack with mysterious chemical rays. 
Fear not foodies! 

“It’s funny how everyone avoids Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in foods - but nobody knows about them or understands what they are!” said Sylvia E. Klinger, DBA, MS, RDN, CPT, President and founder of Hispanic Food Communications, Inc. “I learned about this process first-hand from the people who are making these foods - the farm-to-table aspect -  so I can instruct consumers and lower the fear they have of foods that are actually really good for them.” 
  Klinger revealed to Preferred Health Magazine that GMOs were developed - and have been available to consumers since the early 1990s - to help the environment, to help farmers produce a better/larger yield of crops, produce a better appearance in foods, assist with longer storage life, the use of less water during the growing process and to keep stocks health

“Many do not understand the entire concept,” she said. “And to be honest, ‘bioengineered’ is a horrible marketing word! For the average consumer who’s now looking for natural ingredients - this is not their cup of tea.” 
  What goes into producing GMOs? According to the expert, up to 10 crops of plants are genetically modified with a mutated gene. The benefit is that these crops have less density and use less water than if they were grown in soil. This natural process (which has been used for thousands of years) is safely facilitated and has been monitored by both the FDA and USDA. 
  Food manufacturers have historically opposed the labeling of genetically modified foods, arguing that it misleads consumers into thinking that these foods are unsafe. However, numerous studies conducted by the USDA and the World Health Organization have concluded that consuming genetically modified foods does not pose any health risks. 
  Some of the commonly bioengineered foods are corn, canola, soybeans, and sugar beets. Most GMO crops are primarily used for animal feed, as stated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, they are also used to make ingredients that are commonly found in human diets, such as cornstarch, corn syrup, canola oil, and granulated sugar. Additionally, certain types of eggplant, potatoes, and apples are also included on the USDA’s list of bioengineered foods. 
A more shocking fact for label-lovers? 
  “It might surprise you  - but 90 % of the food supply on the market doesn’t even have GMOs naturally. Tomatoes are not GMO and neither are most potatoes,” Klinger said. “Similarly, manufacturers are 
putting ‘gluten-free’ on foods that never contained gluten to begin with, so the consumer just thinks they are eating something better or healthier. Do your research as a consumer and you’ll find that there are a lot of marketing phrases that don’t need to be used to generate food fear.” 

    Klinger further learned through her research about the excessive amount of food waste in America due to the growing population who now prefer ‘organics’ over GMOs. 
  “Think about it: you buy organic bread or produce and you have to consume it within a day or two or it goes bad and you throw it out… or the suppliers have to throw it all out because it’s not fresh anymore,” she said.  “There’s so much food that goes to waste because people are told that it’s ‘better to eat organic’ and they spend hundreds more on basic foods.” 

Genetically modifying 
some foods could make them: 

• easier to store and transport 
• less prone to waste due to disease and aging 
• more likely to grow in areas with poor-quality soil 
• higher in nutrients 
Also, a 2022 study suggests GMO foods could help slow climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. 

Environmental concerns include: 
• the risk of outcrossing, where genes from GMO foods pass into wild plants and other crops 
• a negative impact on insects and other species 
• reduction in other plant types, leading to a loss of biodiversity 
The risks will vary depending on local conditions. 

The cross-cultural nutritionist visits farms all over the world and educates the public using her in-depth culinary expertise. She also works to introduce new strategies for wellness to an increasingly health-conscious population. Debunking myths about GMOs has become one of her specialties. 
  “The USDA and the FDA were mandated to list ingredients as ‘bioengineered’ only a few years ago,” Klinger explained. “These are not unhealthy or toxic foods. These are simply modified ways of producing things like sugarcane, corn, varieties of fruits, and soy. So many consumers are also shopping in these ‘natural markets’ looking for the label that says ‘No GMOs’ or they are obsessed with buying only organic products - which also have pesticides! Most of this craze in the United States to spend extra money on organic products is for commercial gain and to take advantage of the uneducated consumer.” 
   So do your homework first if you think you’re making a better - healthier - choice by purchasing that expensive bottled water just because the label says “NO GMOs.” 
  Check out Klinger’s network for more farm-to-table topics at 

Sylvia Klinger is a global nutrition communicator, award-winning author, nutrition and culinary consultant, and the founder of Hispanic Food Communications. An internationally recognized nutrition expert who is relentlessly passionate about helping people fall in love with creating and enjoying delicious and nutritious foods,her most recent global nutrition project in Africa is fulfilling one of her aspirations by developing a sustainable community nutrition program to help improve the nutritional health status of malnourished children. In October 2022, Loma Linda University awarded her “Woman of the Year” for her compassionate work with underserved communities. 

bottom of page