Become A GMO-Conscious Shopper

by Manjari Fergusson

With the risks of eating genetically modified food so uncertain, many Americans wisely try to avoid consuming GMOs as much as possible.

Unfortunately, genetically modified food is not required to be labeled. Therefore, it can be hard to know if what you buy is genetically modified or not.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid GMOs. The following is a guide on how to be a smart, GMO-aware shopper.

  1. Buy Organic. Foods with the Organic seal certify that GMOs were not used in production.
  2. Buy foods with the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal issued by the Non-GMO Project.1 Down to Earth and the natural food industry are very strong supporters of this initiative. Through independent, third party testing, the Seal verifies that products are made according to a rigorous standard for avoiding GMOs. There is no way to say something is completely free of GMO contamination due to testing limitations, however the Non-GMO Project uses a 0.9% “Action Threshold”, which was made based on European Union laws where products containing more than 0.9% GMO are labeled as such.
  3. Stay away from known foods made from GM crops. These include:
    • Corn and corn-derived products such as corn flour, corn meal, corn oil, corn starch, gluten, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose and glucose.
    • Soy and soy-derived products including soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate and isoflavone, vegetable oil and protein.
    • Canola oil
    • Cottonseed oil
    • Rainbow papaya
    • Sugar beets. When sugar is listed as an ingredient it is either coming from sugar beets or cane sugar. To avoid GM sugar beets, consume products that say organic sugar, cane sugar or evaporated cane sugar.
    • Avoid aspartame, the artificial sweetener that is derived from GM microorganisms.

  4. Stick to locally grown foods. Most GM foods are grown on large, industrial farms. In buying local produce at Down to Earth or your local farmers' market, you are more likely to avoid GM crops.
  5. Check labels on dairy products. Many dairy cows are given the GM growth hormone rBGH or rBST to enhance milk production. Look for dairy products labeled as r-BGH/rBST-free. Buy organic milk and dairy products.
  6. Use whole foods as much as possible and try to grow your own. These days it is much easier to buy packaged food products, but Americans are paying for that in increased health problems. By incorporating more whole foods into your diet it is easier to avoid GM foods and it is also healthier.
Footnotes: 
  1. Non-GMO Project, ‘The ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ Seal,” 2012. http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/understanding-our-seal/ (Accessed 10-08-12).

© 2014 Down to Earth Organic & Natural

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