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5 Ways to Avoid GMOs in Your Food
Food

5 Ways to Avoid GMOs in Your Food

GMO corn Raise your hand if you want to enjoy your food with a helping of genetically modified ingredients. Anyone? Bueller…Bueller?

No, didn’t think so…

We’ve previously discussed the California GMO veto known as Prop 37 which would have would have required food companies, grocers and retailers to label products with genetically modified ingredients as such. While the proposition didn’t pass this year and has yet to be introduced in Pennsylvania (though farmers have spoken up) and other states there are some key things we can do to avoid GMOs.

1. Purchase food that’s 100% organic, and check it twice. In the US and Canada food is not permitted to be labeled 100% organic if it’s been genetically modified. The trouble is that many food items are splashed with the “organic” label and no percentage explicitly expressed. If it doesn’t say 100% it’s not necessarily free of GMOs.

2. Become familiar with fruit and vegetable label numbers. Check out those tiny digits known as the PLU codes on your produce.

  • If it’s a 4 digit number the food is conventionally produced and without the use of pesticides.
  • If it’s a 5 digit number and the number starts with an 8 the fruit or vegetable is genetically modified
  • If it’s a five digit number that starts with a 9 the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified.

3. Get to know the likely culprits. GM corn, soy and canola are the 3 main culprits in the US. These ingredients are especially prevalent in processed foods and admittedly hard to avoid. I was recently tested for food allergies and found that I have a slight allergy to corn (this makes me very unhappy as I love chips and guac!) I’ve since realized it’s in a whole heck of a lot – especially the GM kind.

GM corn is a main ingredient in animal feeds given to animals on factory farms. When people eat animal products from factory farms they’re consuming what the animals ate. If you’re a meat eater purchase beef that’s 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed. Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed, but  unfortunately spend the last part of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling.

Checking food labels and eating less processed foods are both worthwhile steps to avoid GM ingredients.

4. Shop at farmers markets and buy locally.  This isn’t a fail-proof method BUT most of the GM foods found in the US come from large factory and industrial farms. Purchasing from small farmers and from CSAs means you’re less likely to injest GMO food. Though I’d be sure to have a conversation with your local farmer about their methods.GMO-label

5. Look for the safe label! Obvious, yes… But since I started paying attention to my “GMO intake” I’ve realized that most conventional foods that don’t use GMOs proudly display that fact on their label. Keep your eyes peeled!

 

 

 

 

 

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Beth is a Health and Wellness expert who believes sustainability goes hand-in-hand with self care. She’s the girl whipping up kombucha cocktails at parties, and extolling the benefits of canning vegetables to anyone who will listen. View all posts by Beth Funari

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