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How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods - January 2019

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bee friendly plants - non - GMO 

Genetically modified(GM) foods - are they safe or harmful? While regulatory authorities have approved GM food that is on the market, some people are concerned that there is risk of harm. Most foods we eat may contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If you live in Europe, avoiding GM foods is easier since laws require labeling. In the US and Canada, however, food manufacturers are not required to label if their food is genetically modified or not. Here are some guidelines for steering clear of GM foods in your diet, if that is your choice.

 

Step One:

 

Become familiar with the most common applications of genetic modification. These are the products (and their derivatives) that are most likely to be genetically modified:

 

 

  • Soybeans - Gene taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides.
  • Corn - There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests. There are also several events which are resistant to various herbicide. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America.
  • Rapeseed/Canola - Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to herbicide.
  • Sugar beets - Gene added/transferred to make crop more resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.
  • Cotton - engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
  • Dairy - Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
  • Sugar. In 2012 the FDA approved GMO Beet Sugars to be allowed to be sold on the market under the name.... "SUGAR" So now, when we go to buy "All Natural" Breyer's Ice Cream, we can't even know for sure that we are actually eating regular natural cane sugar. If you see "CANE SUGAR" there's a good chance it's not GMO. This is one of the biggest frustrations with labelling, as sugar is in so many things, and we might be avoiding food that POSSIBLY has GMO sugar, but really does not.
  • Papayas.
  • Zucchini.
  • Buy organic corn, popcorn, corn chips only.
 

 

Step Two:

 

Buy food labeled 100% organic.  The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed.  Also, just because something says "organic" on it does not mean that it does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say 100% organic.

Trusted Organic Certification institutions include QAI, Oregon Tilth, and CCOF. Look for their mark of approval on the label of the product. USDA Organic standards pale in comparison , do not consider a product 100% organic if it is only USDA Organic Certified.

 

This applies to eggs, as well. Eggs labeled "free-range", "natural", or "cage-free" are not necessarily GE-free; look for eggs to be 100% organic.

 

Step Three:

 

Recognize fruit and vegetable label numbers.

If it is a 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced.

If it is a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, do not trust that GE foods will have a PLU identifying it as such, because PLU labeling is optional.

If it is a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it is
organic.

 

Step Four:

 

Purchase beef that is 100% grass-fed. Most cattle are grass-fed, but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. If you're looking to stay away from GMOs, make sure the cattle were 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished). The same applies to meat from other herbivores such as sheep. There is also the slight possibility that the animals were fed GM alfalfa, although this is less likely if you buy meat locally. With non-ruminants like pigs and poultry that cannot be 100% grass-fed, it's better to look for meat that is 100% organic.

 

 

Step Five:

 

Seek products that are specifically labeled as non-GM or GMO-free. However, it is rare to find products labeled as such. You can also research websites that list companies and foods that do not use genetically modified foods, but be aware that information is often incomplete and conflicting interests may not be declared.

 

Step Six:

 

Shop locally.  Although more than half of all GM foods are produced in the US and in Canada, most of it comes from large, industrial farms. By shopping at farmers' markets, signing up for a subscription from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, or patronizing a local co-op, you may be able to avoid GM products and possibly save money at the same time. More and more small farms are offering grains and meat directly to customers, in addition to the usual fare (vegetables, fruit, herbs). Shopping locally may also give you the opportunity to speak to the farmer and find out how he or she feels about GMOs and whether or not they use them in their own operation.

 

Step Seven:

 

Buy whole foods. Favour foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than foods that are processed or prepared (e.g. anything that comes in a box or a bag, including fast food). What you lose in convenience, you may recover in money saved and satisfaction gained, as well as increased peace of mind. Try cooking a meal from scratch once or twice a week--you may enjoy it and decide to do it more often.

 

Step Eight:

 

Grow your own food. This way you know exactly what was grown, and what went into growing it. If you are growing your own plants from seed, make sure the company has taken the "safe seed pledge

 

Step Nine:

At chain and non-chain restaurants, you can ask which, if any, of their foods contain GMs, but the waiters/waitresses and kitchen staff are not likely to know. Ask them to find out what oils they cook with. It is usually one of the big four: corn, soy, canola or cottonseed. You may request butter to be used instead, though these are often products of cow that ate GM corn feed, it is a secondary product.

 

Step Ten:

 

Baked goods: Often has one or more of the common GM ingredients in them. Why do we need corn or soy in our bread, snacks or desserts? It's hard to find mixes to use as well. Some brands avoid GMs, find one you like and try to stick with it. Organic is one option, learning how to cook brownies, etc, from scratch with your own organic oils is another.

Note: This information on GMO is changing all the time. We recommend joining a local group in your area and stay informed with the recent changes to our food and GMO foods.




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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
This information and research is intended to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All material in this article is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this newsletter / e-magazine / website. Readers should consult their doctor and other qualified health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided in this newsletter / e-magazine/website are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions. OK in Health is not responsible for the information in these articles or for any content included in this article which is intended as a guide only and should not be used as a substitute to seeking professional advice from either your doctor or a registered specialist for yourself or anyone else.
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