Photo Credit: Nineten
I have been wanting to do more research about genetically modified foods- what they are, how they are bad for us, and where they are hidden in our food-but life has found me very busy lately (my cooking classes are starting this Friday!).
So I asked a few other knowledgeable bloggers to share their knowledge with me and you about GMO’s. All three of the panelists shared very important information with us, including great advice on how to avoid GMO’s in our everyday lives. Please read this important information, and also feel free to share your knowledge too!
This post is part of Real Food Media’s No GMO Challenge. Check it out for even more information about this topic and consider joining in on the challenge!
Why should we care about GMOs?
“GMOs are the #1 biggest threat to our environment. GMOs are also a huge threat to our health. The The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) just called for a a moratorium on genetically manipulated (GMO) foods. “Ann Marie, AKA Cheeseslave
“There are many reasons we should care. Here’s just a few: GMO’s are not adequately tested and where they have been tested (in Europe) they have been shown to cause problems like organ damage and increased allergies. They’ve worked their way into most of our processed food with NO labeling & they are everywhere! In everything from soda to meat. In Europe, if they are allowed at all, they have to be labeled. That’s the minimum we should accept here. Oh and maybe the biggest reason, the GMO crops can and do contaminate all the other crops, including organic ones. ” Sheri, Moms for Safe Food
“Quite simply: GMOS threaten our environment, our health and continued success of small farmers. GMOs have not been conclusively studied and, in effect, are a huge science experiment conducted on a non-consenting, unaware population. Despite what GMO proponents say, they are not “substantially” similar to their non-modified counterparts; indeed, the very genetic structure of the plant in question will have been disrupted. Bacteria and viruses are often included in the genetic structure as well as genes from other plants and, sometimes, animals as well. Furthermore, it is the nature of plants to expand – to grow beyond their boundaries. With GMO crops, there’s simply no effective way to avoid or eliminate the risk of cross-pollination which brings us to the very real threat that much of our food will become contaminated without our consent or knowledge.
GMO crops also encourage the heavy use of pesticides as in the case of Roundup-ready Canola and other crops engineered to withstand pesticide use; this practice enables farmers to drench their fields in pesticides since the GMO crop will survive and any weeds will be killed. In this way, GMO promotes monocropping which robs the soil of its nutrients, limits the food consumers can eat and presents a very real threat in the event that an external threat wipes out that particular crop. Interestingly, recent studies indicate that some GMO crops actually yield less per acre than their unmodified counterparts. “Jennifer, Nourished Kitchen
What are the biggest GMO culprits?
“Soy, Canola, Cotton and Corn are the biggest culprits and these are in practically every processed or refined food. In essence, if you eat refined food you’re eating GMO. In the United States, there is no law mandating the labeling of GMO ingredients on food packages despite the fact that the vast majority of consumers want such a law enacted. Without the obligation of appropriate labeling, most of the food industry’s giants have made no effort to rid their products of GMO ingredients. Many of these foods seem benign: fruit punches with high fructose corn syrup, kid’s cheese crackers with GMO soy lecithin and GMO cottonseed oil – you get the idea.”Jennifer, Nourished Kitchen
“Corn, canola, soy, and cotton. You need to read labels — most processed/packaged foods contain these foods (soybean oil, soy lethicin, high fructose corn syrup, etc.).“Ann Marie, Cheeseslave
“Corn, because it gets fed to farm animals and also gets made into High Fructose Corn Syrup that’s in so many processed foods“-Sheri, Moms For Safe Food
What about the not so obvious GMO culprits?
“Most everyone knows about soy, canola, cotton and corn but few know about the little guys: papayas, sugar beets, potatoes, flax, tomatoes, radicchio and even yellow summer squash. Moreover, many products that you might consider “natural” might also harbor GMO ingredients unless otherwise listed. This is why, in purchasing Organic foods, you must read the ingredient list thoroughly – looking for 100% organic ingredients or purchasing only from companies who have made a commitment not to purchase GMO ingredients. “Jennifer, Nourished Kitchen
“Soy Lecithin. I’ve seen organic products (especially chocolate) that have non-organic soy lecithin as an ingredient. If soy lecithin is not organic, it’s most likely genetically modified. You really need to read labels!”Sheri, Moms for Safe Food
“All the corn and soy fed to cattle and pigs. And all the soybean and corn oil we use to cook with. Most restaurants use vegetable (corn/soy) to cook with.”Ann Marie, Cheeseslave
Any ending advice in how to make our homes GMO free?
“Buy grass fed meat and organic veggies, fruits, milk & cheese. Eat real food and cook it yourself as much as possible. Use real butter. Canola and corn oils that are not organic are GMO.
Take it one step at a time. If we all start to eat less GMO products as well as let our legislators know that we want labeling and testing, we can be part of the end of GMO’s!“Sheri, Moms for Safe Food
“First, cook your foods from scratch and don’t purchase processed foods. This doesn’t just help to eliminate your family’s risk of consuming GMO foods; rather, it’ll help your family’s health overall. If cooking your food from scratch isn’t possible, then make the choice to purchase organic foods – keeping a watchful eye on the package for the big GMO crops. Also, take a look at the PLU code located on the fruits and vegetables you purchase. While most GM crops don’t actually make it to your produce section, it’s wise to keep an eye out for them. PLU codes identify fruits and vegetables and are based on a 4- or 5-number sequence. If the PLU code is 4 numbers long, the fruit or vegetable in question is conventionally grown. If the PLU code is 5 numbers long and begins with a 9, the fruit or vegetable is organically grown. If the PLU code is a 5 digit number preceded by the number 8, the fruit or vegetable is genetically modified.
A Conventional Russet Potato would read PLU #4072
An Organic Russet Potato would read PLU #94072
A GM Russet Potato would read PLU #84072”
Jennifer, Nourished Kitchen
“Reducing/eliminating processed foods and avoiding the 4 crops (corn, canola, soy, cotton) unless organic will get you most of the way there. You also need to be careful eating out because most restaurants cook food in soybean or corn oil. If you really want to avoid GMOs, avoid eating meat and dairy from animals that have been fed GMO crops.-“Ann Marie, Cheeseslave