Did you know that GMO’s can be found in 75-80% of conventional processed foods in the United States? Um, yeah. That’s big. And since the FDA doesn’t require labeling, you really don’t know what you are eating. So unless you buy food that is labeled “100% organic” or labeled by the 3rd party NON-GMO Project, you run the risk of consuming foods that have been genetically modified.
Trying to avoid GMO’s these days can be a maddening experience. You would think that a label that stated Certified Organic / USDA Organic (you know that USDA Certified Organic symbol we see everywhere) would mean that what you are buying is free from GMO’s. Right? Not exactly. There are loopholes in the certification that allow for 5% of the weight to be ingredients from a USDA National List which allows producers to sneak in questionable ingredients like GMO cornstarch and soy lecithin. What kind of crap is that? So when you spend you big bucks on those USDA Organic sausages, be aware that the casing may be from conventionally raised animals that have been fed antibiotics (or GMO-laden corn). And did you know that antibiotics have been allowed to be used on organic apples and pears to prevent fire blight? Bummer.
Like I said before, the ONLY way to ensure that you are getting food free from GMO’s is to buy foods labeled by the Non-GMO Project or labelled 100%Organic. Better yet, take the leap and start growing some of your own foods. Becoming more self-reliant is a big step in taking charge of your own health. You can also keep it local by shopping at the farmer’s market and getting to know that people who grow your food and raise meats that are fed a 100% organic diet or are grass fed. Now I know that this isn’t possible all of the time for us. I wish that it was. But at least we can educate ourselves and do the best that we can. It is up to us as consumers to vote with our dollars, to send a message about what we want and will allow in our food supply.
If you are new to clean eating or are just educating yourself about genetically modified foods, I want to share a list of the 10 biggest GMO offenders that may help you in deciding where to spend you food dollars and help you make food decisions when organic is not available. Eating out may the most difficult time to avoid GMO’s. This list should help narrow your choices. (source )
10 Biggest GMO Offenders
- Sugar Beets
- Yellow Squash
A few tips when eating out
- Oils are the biggest offenders. GM corn, soy and canola oil are the cheapest for restaurants to use.
- European cheeses from places like France, Greece, and Switzerland are more likely to be GMO free.
- Choose vegetarian foods. While (most) meat is not genetically engineered at this point in time, it was likely raised on GMO feed.
- Unless desserts are made from 100% cane sugar, they are most likely made with sugar from genetically modified sugar beets.
- Italian, Greek or Middle Eastern cooking usually is based around olive oil and is usually cooked from scratch. I would, however, confirm this with the management.
- Insist on wild-caught salmon. Farmed salmon is most likely fed GMO ingredients like corn, and the FDA is pushing hard to introduce the sale of GMO salmon with no labeling requirement. Can you say “frankenfish?”
- Eat at locally-owned independent restaurants. Chain restaurants generally obtain their food from long-distance supply chains and centralized distribution centers greatly increasing the chances that GMOs are involved. Local restaurants are also more likely to cook from scratch and to source locally. Always ask questions to know what you are getting.
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It’s up to us as the consumer to educate ourselves when it comes to what we put in our mouths and what we serve to our children. There are several great online resources to help you learn more. My 2 favorite are Just Label It and the Non-GMO Project. I also recommend having a Non-GMO Shopping Guide with you when you are purchasing food to help you make healthy decisions.
photo by: swanksalot