You may be seeing "Non-GMO" labels popping up in supermarkets all over and you may or may not have given much thought to what GMOs are and how they affect your diet. For More information click here. GMOs are "genetically modified organisms" they are plants and animals that have been genetically altered by the introduction of bacteria, viruses, or other different species into their DNA, thus genetically modifying them. Also, animals that eat GMO feed produce GMO meats and by-products when slaughtered . Most of the world do not consider genetically modified foods to be safe to consume and about 64 countries have bans or significant restrictions on the production and sales of GMOs. However, the United States and Canada have yet to restrict or ban these foods. I have no idea why we (as a nation) won't even put a label on GMO foods so that we can at least decide for ourselves if we want to eat them or not. Well, actually I do have an idea, but then again this is not a political blog so I'll keep that to myself...
America's failure to restrict, ban or even label GMOs and other harmful food additives is why you may have heard things like, for example, some of Ben and Jerry's American markets use GMO ingredients for their ice cream here in the US, however, the ice-cream they make for European markets are GMO free. Or, you may have read recently in the news that Subway announced plans to eventually remove azodicarbonamide from their American markets, while they do not bake their bread with the chemical also found in yoga mats and synthetic leather in markets overseas ( by the way, if you can't pronounce it don't eat it azodicarbonamide has been linked to asthma and other respiratory problems).
Not only are GMOs bad for your health, but they are also bad for our economy, our environment, they have a negative affect on farmers (Monsanto, look it up) and the national food security of the United States because once these GMO crops are released into our environment, they can not be recalled. If you're as outraged about this as I am, hopefully we can inspire change because I'd like my children to have more choices of REAL food and it not cost them an arm or a leg in some cases literally.
I always encourage you to do more research and dig deeper. Since GMOs have been linked to a myriad of health problems, cancers and diseases. It's a good idea to try and eliminate as many GMOs from your diet as possible, and the first step is to recognize what they are: In the US about 80% of our foods are GMOs or contain GMO ingredients (goodness gracious, that's a lot). Below are several that have the highest risk of being genetically modified. It looks like a pretty short list, but don't forget about all the products that are derived from these crops. Let's take corn for example, there are thousands products that have ingredients derived from corn such as soda, chewing gum, condiments, alcoholic beverages, baby food, cereals, peanut butter and the list goes on and on and on. If it's GMO corn think of all the products that are now also GMO products! Consider all the products that have canola oils in them, cottonseed oil, soy, sugar. Pretty overwhelming, huh?
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
- Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
Check out the rest of the list here. I'm working on a post to help you identify and eliminate GMOs. For example, ingredients listed as "sugar" usually are GMO, you want to look for "pure cane sugar" or "organic sugar". Also, make sure you support companies who support GMO labeling and not those who are lining their pockets at the expense of your health and spending lots of money to fight GMO labeling. Ask yourself why these companies don't want you to know that their products are GMO.