GMO stands for genetically modified organisms including plants and animals produced through genetic engineering or GE. This new biotechnology combines DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Basically, all commercial GMOs are engineered to endure direct herbicide treatment (over 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance) and/or to produce an insect repellent. Regardless of the possibilities of genetic engineering, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer better-quality crop, drought tolerance, greater nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
In the meantime, mounting evidence links GMOs with health disorders, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. A new study further fuels the controversy surrounding GMOs, revealing that GMO toxins are in fact associated with leukemia and anemia.
If you consider the fact that as much as 80% of conventional processed food in the US is genetically modified (i.e. contains GMOs), you will want to learn how to protect your and your family’s health by staying away from this highly processed food. Follow these simple 4 rules and maintain good health:
Tip #1: Buy Organic
Certified organic products cannot intentionally include any GMO ingredients. Buy products labeled 100% ‘organic,’ ‘organic’ or ‘made with organic ingredients.’ You can be doubly sure if the product also has a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal.
Tip #2: Look for Non-GMO Project Seals
Products that carry the Non-GMO Project Seal are independently verified to be in compliance with North America’s only third party standard for GMO avoidance, including testing of at-risk ingredients. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to providing consumers with clearly labeled and independently verified non-GMO choices. Look for dairy products labeled ‘No rBGH or rBST,’ or ‘artificial hormone-free.’
Tip #3: Avoid at-risk ingredients
If it’s not labeled organic or verified non-GMO, avoid products made with ingredients that might be derived from GMOs (see list). The eight GM food crops are Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed, Sugar Beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash.
Sugar If a non-organic product made in North American lists ‘sugar’ as an ingredient (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almost certainly a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets.
Dairy Products may be from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone. Look for labels stating ‘No rBGH, rBST or artificial hormones.’
Tip #4: Download Shopping Guides
Use either IRT’s new Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure or redesigned Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid GM foods. Each guide will help you uncover hidden GM ingredients on food labels that often read more like a chemical periodic table.