20 Foods You Didn’t Know Have Been Genetically Modified

Finding food that is labeled as non-GMO seems to be somewhat difficult nowadays. The health trend has caused fears in many that what they’re eating is pumped full of harmful toxins because of farmers genetically modifying fruits and vegetables. The truth is, people have been genetically modifying food for decades now! A lot of the fruit and vegetables we eat look and taste way different than they used to, and for this, we can blame those who genetically modify these substances. Here are some of the most popular foods that you probably weren’t aware are actually genetically modified.

Apple

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Apples are actually one of the fruits that are a newer genetic modification. A lot of people assumed that apples have been tampered with throughout history, causing their multiple colors. That is not true, however. But recently, people have been experimenting with new variations of apples, and the FDA recently approved a type of apple that doesn’t brown in color, even after it’s cut! Would you try it?

Strawberry

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Strawberries are a fruit that has not existed throughout all of history! The first strawberry came about sometime in the 1750s after a scientist did some experimenting with breeding different berries. Eventually, he created a strawberry, but just a small version. The large strawberries that we know today emerged sometime in the mid-1800s.

Pumpkin

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Pumpkins were nonexistent at one point in history. They simply derived from a plant, the same that squash comes from. Pumpkins used to be a lot smaller than they are now and also had far fewer seeds. They were originally used as containers, but as they got larger and less bitter, people began consuming them more often.

Alfalfa

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Alfalfa is the second food item on our list to be a newer genetically modified crop. In 2011, the FDA approved a form of the food that has the ability to resist pesticide. Not all alfalfa is genetically modified, however. The modified version is now mainly fed to cows in the form of hay.

Corn

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Corn is definitely one of the biggest crops in the world. You use it as a regular vegetable, for corn starch, and for the endless amount of popcorn! But at one time, corn didn’t exist! It was merely a tiny plant. But luckily, scientists played around with the genes of the crop and eventually they were able to produce the delicious corn that we consume today. Not much differs from the original version other than the size!

Soybean

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Soybeans happen to be the second largest crops right after corn! Soybeans haven’t been as genetically modified as corn, however. Scientists only recently started tampering with the makeup of this crop. It began around 1998 and is still being experimented with today. The main purpose of genetic modifications is only to make it resistant to various herbicides and pesticides.

Banana

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Bananas are probably the most genetically modified fruits on our list. The original banana was actually very tough to open, full of seeds, and almost completely inedible! It’s surprising to find that out, considering that today’s bananas are so easily accessible and ready to eat! But the 7,500 years of genetically modifying these fruits has been through has definitely been seen.

Cauliflower

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Cauliflower doesn’t appear anywhere in the wild. It’s all been genetically modified and completely human crafted. The cauliflower actually comes from the mustard plant! The plant is known for breeding white and yellow flowers. The cauliflower is a modified version of the white flower! I guess it makes sense now that it has the word “flower” in its name!

Squash

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Just like pumpkins, squash is genetically modified as well! Once you start modifying one plant, you’re able to make many different versions of it. That’s exactly what squash is! it has just become more of an edible and consumable version of the pumpkin. That’s also why you’ll see so many variations of squash, because people love experimenting to see what weird vegetables they can create.

Watermelon

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Even more so than bananas, watermelon is also known as one of the most modified fruits on our list! the original watermelon had way more seeds and weight to it than it does now. Originally, the watermelon was tough to eat and consisted of mostly seeds with a lighter color. But just like a lot of the other foods on the list, scientists picked apart the watermelon to create something more appetizing!

Milk

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Of course, you can probably assume that milk is genetically modified. Different amounts of fat are removed or added to the different kinds of milk, such as skim, and whole. However, it goes beyond that! Farmers actually inject cows with different hormones to get a higher amount of milk from the animal! the hormone is banned in some countries, but not the U.S.

Broccoli

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Broccoli is cauliflower’s green brother! Just like cauliflower, broccoli comes from the mustard flower. Instead of being a version of the white flower, broccoli is actually a variation of the plant and not the actual flower. That must be why it’s called broccoli and doesn’t contain “flower” in the name.

Papaya

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Papayas are also a newer fruit to be genetically modified, but it is not as widely produced as the other recent modified foods. In the 1990s, nearly half of Hawaii’s papaya population was destroyed by a virus. Now papaya is produced with a gene variation that provides resistance to the virus.

Carrot

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We know carrots now as bright orange fruit that rabbits enjoy chewing on! At one time, however, carrots were much more different than they are today. The original versions of carrots were actually very thin and white or purple in color! They have been modified to be more consumable like most things on the list.

Peach

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Peaches are known for having a pretty large and tough core. At one point, this core was even larger than what it now, but the flesh was smaller! Original peaches were tiny little bite sized fruits similar to cherries. But they have been modified in order to have a better taste, as older varieties of peaches were very bitter and salty.

Eggplant

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When you look at an eggplant, it’s a very large purple fruit. An egg is the opposite of that, so how did the vegetable get this name? Early eggplants were actually much smaller and rounder and orange or yellow in color. They have been modified to be much larger than they are now in order to produce more food per plant.

Wheat

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Wheat was one of the most important vegetables to gather in early history. This was because it could be gathered and replanted a lot easier than most other plants. The problem was that for any food you gathered, a lot of the seeds would fall out of the plant. But genetic modification has allowed these plants to better hold onto their seeds, resulting in them being more easily farmed.

Avocado

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Avocados seem to be exploding in popularity every year. At one point, they weren’t so popular. Original avocados were as small as the palm of your hand and the pit took up most of the plant. What was left was a scarce and gritty substance that didn’t have a pleasant taste. But someone saw something in avocado and decided to play around with its genes, resulting in the delicious green stuff we have today.

Almonds

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If you grabbed a handful of almonds before they were genetically modified, there’s a good chance that you would be eating a handful of cyanide! Early almonds contained a larger amount of this deadly poison. But almonds have been greatly modified to become the delicious nut we eat today.

Coffee

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Coffee is one of the biggest crops on the planet. We use so much of it that some experts are actually worried it might run out! But it’s definitely had its fair share of genetic modification. What was once a simple coffee bean has become a crop that can be specifically altered to your taste. The form it is in now doesn’t differ much from the original version, however, it’s definitely been modified more often than many items on our list.