|The Non-GMO seal|
What are GMOs? GMOs are genetically modified organisms – meaning they are plant or meat products that have had their DNA altered (genetically modified) in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. Why? For crops, it is mostly to withstand the spraying of ever-more-toxic pesticides. As blogger Margie Kelly explains, in her recent Huffington Post blog, GMO crops are "‘Roundup Ready,’ meaning they can withstand spraying of Monsanto's Roundup pesticide and live, while weeds around them die.” Read Kelly's post here.
According to Kelly's sources, 93 percent of soy is genetically modified and 88 percent of corn is also genetically modified. Besides the humdingers of soy and corn, the most common GMOs are cotton, canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa. Many of these items also appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat, ingredients ingredients listed as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
But, there’s hope for those of us who would like to avoid GMOs.
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to "preserving and building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices." According to their website, the organization “believes that consumers in North America should have access to clearly-labeled non-GMO food and products, now and in the future. That conviction continues to guide the Non-GMO Project, as North America’s only independent verification for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance.” For more information about the Non-GMO project, to get on their newsletter list, or even to order their cookbook, click here. At the very least, you can start to look for their seal, pictured above, on products.
Although I am just beginning to wade through the piles of information debating GMOs’ health risks to humans (possible links to allergies, inflammation and other health issues), and the environmental risks of GMO farming practices (mainly cross-pollination of non-GMO crops, and transference to other products, like honey), my gut gives me a giant thumbs down response.
At the very least, I support the transparent labeling of all food products, despite a recent California proposal (Prop 37) that just barely missed passing (48.6% voted for it) . . . probably because companies like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Kraft, Dow and Coca-Cola (among others) pooled $46 million to oppose the proposal, compared to the $9 million gathered from companies like Amy’s Kitchen, and Natural Path Foods (among others) in support of the proposal. But, that's a whole other post!
What about you? Where do you stand on the GMO debate?