October is No-GMO month, and we are continuing to bring you information to help you make safe, informed buying decisions. Your health, your family’s health and the health of our environment absolutely depend upon your knowledge and activism on this issue.
What is a GMO?
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. You may also see the term GE, or genetically engineered. GMOs are experimental plants or animals that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory with DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria & viruses.
Why are GMOs being created?
Seed producers (or chemical companies) modify their seed to make it resistant to their brand of herbicide (thus being able to sell more toxic herbicide)
Seed producers modify plants to contain built-in pesticides- so that bugs will die when they eat part of the plant (what happens to humans and livestock that eat part of the plant??)
Seed and chemical companies also create GMOs so that the genetic code (aka, LIFE) is patentable and they can own the seed, the crop and continue to profit year-after-year.
Where are GMOs found?
They are in 80% of packaged foods in the US! GMO crops are added to processed foods as oils, sweeteners, soy proteins and in things like amino acids, aspartame (artificial sweeteners), Vitamin C, flavorings (“natural” and artificial), maltodextrins and more. Full list of invisible ingredients here
How big is the GMO problem?
Huge! The amount of genetically modified crops in the US is as follows: 93% soy, 93% cotton, 90% canola and 86% corn – ALL genetically modified!
Other genetically engineered crops include 90% of sugar beets (used to make white sugar in lieu of cane sugar, often labeled simply as “sugar” in ingredient lists), some zucchini and yellow squash, over 50% of the papayas from Hawaii, Quest brand tobacco, with many other crops (alfalfa is being fought over at the Supreme Court level now), plants (including GRASS!) and animals (including salmon) slated for debut soon. Read more about where to find GMOs in your food/environment here
Can you see that a product contains GMOs on the label?
NO! In US and Canada, these ingredients are NOT labeled and the seed/chemical companies have fought relentlessly to continue to hide the ingredients in products without consumer knowledge.
In contrast, in over 40 countries including Australia, Japan and all European Union nations, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs because they are not considered proven safe. (Hungary recently discovered some GMO crops growing in an otherwise untainted field and subsequently burned the entire field to rid themselves of these dangerous invaders)
What about the health effects of GMOs?
GMOs have yet to been proven safe. Long term consequences on our health and the environment have not been adequately investigated. In fact, these types of studies have been discouraged (by industry pressure), outright fraud has been committed in many cases and the few studies that have been independently donehave not shown good results at all. Toxins from GMOs have even been found in the cord blood of newborn babies. Read more about the health risks of GMOs here.
How to I avoid GMO ingredients??
First, eat REAL FOOD- food without labels and that does not come in packages, boxes, bags or cans. That will cut out a lot of the processed ingredients that are from GMO crops.
Second, buy ORGANIC produce/products as the organic standard do not currently allow for GMOs in organic foods. (This is constantly under attack by these seed/chemical companies, so please remain vigilent on this topic)
You can look for the Non-GMO Project Verified product label on certain foods. Products bearing this seal have undergone independent testing to ensure that they have been made according to best practices for GE (genetically engineered) avoidance. Here are a few more tips for safe shopping.
Also, please take the time to educate yourself on the topic of GMOs. A great resource is the Institute for Responsible Technology website. They also have an app that you can download to help you locate safe products at the grocery store.
Finally, it’s EXTREMELY important to spread the word, because many, many people have never even heard about GMOs, and yet they have been eating them daily (and reaping the health consequences of such) for years. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about this issue. If all these other countries have managed to oust GMOs, we can absolutely do it too!
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