Be in the Know About GMOs
Get the facts to protect your family with informed choices.
Found in over 30,000 foods sold in US grocery stores, you likely eat GMOs every day… and you’re probably doing it unknowingly.
Unlike in Europe, US and Canadian food manufacturers aren’t required to label genetically modified foods, so it’s important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of GMOs and how to keep them from ending up in your shopping cart. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals genetically engineered by merging DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals in order to create crops that are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicides like Roundup, or to produce their own herbicides or insecticides.
These are often organisms that would not breed in nature. This genetic manipulation has gone so far as to combine fish DNA with strawberries and tomatoes!
Frankenfoods are just as scary as they sound!
A growing body of evidence links GMOs with health problems, environmental concerns and a violation of both farmer and consumer rights. And, like the trans fats introduced decades ago, we won’t fully know the long-term effects for years. However, preliminary research doesn’t look good. Scientists have already linked the herbicide glyphosate (sold as Roundup) to birth defects, disruption of the human endocrine system, and increased cancer and miscarriage risk.
Animal studies have found that mice fed genetically modified corn over four generations showed abnormal structural and chemical changes to organs and a significant reduction in fertility. Much of the research used as evidence of the “safety” of GMOs has ironically been funded by the companies— like Monsanto— responsible for the engineering of these new “frankenfoods.”
And what’s more, the recent Agricultural Appropriations Bill passed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama protects Monsanto and other GMO producers from being held liable for any future health risks.
So, what can we do about it?
I admit that after reading all of the latest research and potential health risks associated with GMOs, I got a little nervous about my next trip to the grocery store. However, if you arm yourself with a little knowledge and shopping know-how, you’ll feel empowered to stock your pantry with safe options.
Here are 5 simple steps to avoid GMOs:
1. Learn the most common GMO foods to watch for.
- Soy (including packaged and processed foods with soy, even baby formula)
- Corn (including processed corn products like chips and popcorn and high fructose corn syrup)
- Canola (including the standard cooking oil in the US)
- Cotton (cottonseed oil is used in vegetable oil and margarine)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash
- Dairy, Eggs, Meat, etc. (cows injected with rBGH/rBST hormone, also animals fed GM grains and hay)
- Sugar Beets (allowed to be on the market under the name ‘sugar’ – if it says ‘cane sugar’ you are more likely safe)
- Common additives derived from GMO crops can include things like: aspartame, ascorbic acid, citric acid, MSG, maltodextrins, xanthan gum, lactic acid, sucrose
- Other moderate risks include flax, rice, wheat and foods like acorn squash, bok choy, turnips, rutabaga and chard.
2. Buy 100% Organic foods! The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if it contains GMO ingredients or has been fed genetically modified feed. That’s one reason you’ll notice that the organic produce doesn’t look quite as “perfect” as the conventional produce. Look for organic certifications from QAI, CCOF, Oregon Tilth or QCS. A label that says “USDA Organic Certified” doesn’t mean that a product is guaranteed 100% organic.
3. Pay attention to produce label numbers.
- A 4-digit number means the food is conventionally produced
- A 5-digit number starting with an 8 means it’s genetically modified
- A 5-digit number starting with a 9 means it’s organic
4. Look for products labeled GMO-Free when it comes to packaged or processed foods (anything in a box or bag, including fast food). Check out the Non-GMO Project website (www.nongmoproject.org) for a list of safe food items. I’ve found many of these products in the health food section of my supermarket including corn tortilla chips, cereals and even fruit snacks for kids.
5. Shop your local farmer’s market. Most GMO crops are grown on large commercial farms, so it’s a much safer bet to buy locally. And, you can usually speak directly to the farmer about their growing process.
UNI KEY’s GMO-Free Pledge
Here at UNI KEY, GMOs are something we are extremely concerned about, and pledge to always offer the highest quality GMO-free protein powders, vitamins and supplements to help you and your family achieve and maintain optimum health for many years to come. Please join us in our commitment by taking a stand against GMOs.
For more information and the latest information, stay tuned to www.nongmoproject.org.
Post a comment below and tell us how you and your family have adapted your eating and buying habits to avoid GMOs.