Say NO To GMOs
When it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), even the savviest of shoppers is likely to be stumped in the aisles of his or her favorite grocery, food co-op, or health food store. Goods certified as organic by the US. Department of Agriculture are required by law to be free of GMOs, but what about the other natural foods and products? With more and more genetically modified produce in the food stream and no requirements that they be labeled as such, how can shoppers make informed choices about their purchases?
What exactly are GMOs?
Genetically modified organisms are created when DNA from one species is injected into another species to create plant or animal combinations that don’t occur naturally or by means of traditional cross breeding methods. Most genetically engineered crops have been designed not for improved taste, increased yield or added nutrients, but to withstand higher applications of herbicides.
So what should I watch out for?
- Soya: The main GM crop that is coming into our food supply. It’s included in around 60% of processed foods - everything from bread to baby formula.
- Maize: A contaminated food which is also present in a lot of processed foods and some vegetarian cheeses.
How can I avoid GM foods?
- If you can, cut down on processed foods because they are much more likely to contain GM ingredients.
- Go organic: Organic foods should not contain any GM ingredients. Those bearing the Soil Association symbol are certified not to do so. Supermarkets are improving their range all the time in response to growing consumer demand, much of it in response to GM food.
- Avoid soya and soya-based ingredients such as soya flour, soya oil, ‘vegetable oil’, lecithin and hydrolysed vegetable protein, unless you know they are GM free, and try and avoid maize-based ingredients such as modified starch, corn flour, corn starch, corn oil and polenta.
- Avoid margarine unless it clearly states it is GM free, and avoid oils which state "vegetable oil" or "cooking oil" on the label. Where you can, avoid "low budget" products as these are more likely to contain GM ingredients.
Information taken from Taste For Life, April 2011. For more information on how to avoid GMOs, visit www.nongmoproject.org