Tips to Avoid GMO
Genetic Engineering or Genetic Modification of food involves the laboratory process of artificially inserting genes into the DNA of food, crops, or animals. The result is called a genetically modified organism or GMO. GMOs can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans.
Most of us would not eat GMO if labeled, but unlike most other industrial countries, the U.S. does not require labeling. Until labeled or proved to do no harm, the GMO products need to be recognized.
Tips to avoid GMO
1. Buy organic. Certified organic products cannot intentionally contain any GMO ingredients.
2. Avoid the eight GM food crops: corn, soy beans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya (most) and small amount of zucchini and yellow squash. This list is frequently changing. Alfalfa has been recently deregulated; and rice is due to hit the market in 2013.
3. Sugar. In North America sugar listed as an ingredient almost certainly means a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets. To be not genetically modified if should say “organic” or “pure cane sugar”.
4. Dairy. Products may be from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone. If it is not labeled organic or non-GMO, look for labels stating No rbST, No rbGH or artificial hormones.
5. Baby foods and Infant formula. Milk or soy protein is the basis of most infant formula. The secret ingredients are often GM soy, or milk from cows injected with rbGH. Many brands also add GMO-derived corn syrup, corn syrup solids or soy lecithin. Earth’s best, HappyBaby, HappyTot are GMO free brands.
6. Beverages. Most juices are made from non-GMO fruit (except Hawaiian papaya), but can contain sweeteners from corn syrup. Many sodas are mainly composed of water and corn syrup. Some companies are moving away from corn syrup to sugar, but unless in it’s pure cane sugar, it may include GM beet sugar. The sweetener Aspartame is derived from GM microorganisms. It is also referred to as NutraSweet and Equal and is found in over 6,000 products including diet drinks and diet sodas.
7. Body care. The GM ingredients found in body care products are largely soy and corn derivatives.
8. Breads and baked goods. Wheat flour, rice, kamut, and oats are not genetically modified, but can contain other GMO ingredients such as corn syrup, soy flour, and sugar from sugar beets. Packaged breads and bakery often contain GM additives.
9. Candy, chocolate and sweeteners. Look for organic products made from 100% cane sugar or evaporated juice. Watch out for soy lecithin and corn syrup. The sweetener Aspartame is derived from GM microorganisms. It is also referred to as NutraSweet and Equal and is found in over 6,000 products including soft drinks, gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
10. Condiments, oils, dressings and Spreads. Unless labeled Non-GMO, corn, soybean, cottonseed, and canola oils produced in North America almost certainly contain GM products. Choose pure olive, coconut, sesame, sunflower, safflower, almond, grape seed, and peanut oils. Also choose jams and jellies with cane sugar (not unspecified sugar, which will likely contain GM beet sugar), or corn syrup.
11. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. Very few fresh fruits and vegetables for sale in the US are genetically modified. Small amount of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and sweet corn may be GM. About half of Hawaiian papayas are GM. But even non-GMO fruit or vegetable when canned or frozen may contain GM additives.
12. Grains, beans and flour. Other than corn and soy, no GM products of this category are sold on the market. Look for 100% wheat flour, pasta, couscous, rice, and so on.
13. Meat, fish and eggs. Plenty of foods are produced from animals raised on GM feed. Look for organic products, wild caught fish or game, and 100% grass-feed animals.
Note: Popcorn and seedless watermelons are Not genetically modified.
Invisible GM ingredients.
Processed foods often have hidden GM sources. The following ingredients may be made from GMO:
aspartame (also called NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Canderel, AminoSweet, BeneVia E951)
cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
fructose (any form)
high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
modified food starch
mono and diglycerides
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
soy (all kind)
sugar (unless specified as cane sugar)
textured vegetable protein
tocopherols (vitamin E)
vegetable fat or oil
TODAY’S TIP: It looks like producers and consumers are playing an exciting game. The producers hide the potentially harmful ingredients and people who care about the future unmask them. The price in this game is too high though. Watch out and be responsible for the well-being of yourself and your kids.