Are you trying to limit your intake of genetically modified foods? We’ve got the skinny on 15 products you’ll want to look out for… and some may surprise you.
We probably don’t have to school you on GM foods, it’s history and the recent debates about it. But here’s a brief debrief from Shelley Stonebrook for the uninitiated: “Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are any living thing that has had its genetic material altered in some way through human scientific interference. This does not refer to ‘selective breeding,’ such as when certain crops are selectively bred by gardeners over time to withstand heat, for instance, or the process by which different dog breeds were developed over time. Instead, GMOs undergo a form of gene therapy under lab conditions whereby segments of DNA are spliced, rearranged or removed altogether. You may have been eating genetically modified food for years and not even know it.” You can read the rest of her story on potential health risks involved with eating GM food here. She also further explains why they should all be labeled here.
The latest news about GMs? Canada’s decision to allow GM salmon and the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) releasing a report proposing a link between genetically modified foods and gluten-related disorders. Since no meat, fish, or egg products have been genetically engineered in the past (and were often considered the only safe zone), the news about Canada is especially disturbing.
Here are 15 foods you’ll need to avoid if you’re looking to sidestep GM foods. You can learn more about each item at the source links below:
10 you probably knew about…
1. Sugar beets: (Luckily, you can’t buy these right now anyways! Stay tuned.)
5. Golden rice
8. Animal feed
And five that may surprise you…
11. Papayas: 77% of this Hawaiian grown crop is genetically engineered.
12. Milk: Ah, RGBH (recombinant bovine growth hormone)! This GE variation is an injection into dairy cows to increase milk production and has been for sales to humans in the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. In the US? 40 percent of our dairy products contain the hormone. Yuck.
13. Corn on the cob: Sure, 90% of corn produced in the US is genetically modified… but most of that corn never goes to humans. Sweet corn — the stuff that we eat — was GMO-free until Monsanto released its first GE harvest of sweet corn last year. Want to steer clear of it? Shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, who have banned the fake stuff.
14. Squash and zucchini: Often, these two are fine but approximately 25,000 acres of crookneck, straightneck, and zucchinis have been bioengineered to be virus resistant. Do your research.
15. “All natural” foods: Well, you don’t have to avoid these food labels, but you also should not assume that means no GE foods. There is currently no mandate on what a “natural” food is and that won’t change until the Food and Drug Administration resolve the pending class action suits against General Mills, Campbell Soup Co., and the tortilla manufacturer Gruma Corp.
Psst: Looking for a complete list of genetically modified foods? That’s nearly impossible, since (according to Disabled World), “some estimates say as many as 30,000 different products on grocery store shelves are ‘modified.’ That’s largely because many processed foods contain soy. Half of North America’s soy crop is genetically engineered!” However, you can find a great list on their website. The one piece of good news? USDA organic standards have prohibited any genetically modified ingredients. So, you’re always good with that.
If you want to know if you’re eating genetically modified foods, sign this petition asking Congress to start labeling GM foods.