WHAT IS A GMO?
GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are plants or animals that have been created by splicing DNA into them from other plants, animals, bacteria, or viruses to create an organism that would not occur otherwise in nature. Most GMOs on the market have been created to tolerate the use of herbicides and pesticides in agriculture.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH GMOs?
While we do not know for sure the longterm impacts of GMO’s, increasing evidence connects them with serious health risks (including infertility, birth defects, allergies, and digestive problems), environmental damage (including water contamination, degraded soil health, die-off of beneficial insects, loss of biodiversity, and seed pollution) risks and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. Once GMOs are released into the environment, there are no known methods for decontamination. Visit our resource page for more info on GMOs.
WHY LABEL GMOs YOURSELF?
Polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of Americans want to know if food they are purchasing contains GMOs. The US government has been unwilling to cede to this demand because of the powerful biotech lobby. Since we cannot rely on our governments or corporations to give us the real facts, we as eaters are taking back our right to know what is in our food, and our right to make informed choices. We will bring about the change we want to see! If there is nothing to hide then why hide it?
HOW MUCH OF MY FOOD CONTAINS GMOs?
An estimated 80% of conventional processed food in the United States contains GMOs. Labels like “natural”, “all natural”, “naturally made”, “naturally grown” MAY contain GMOs.
Approximately 90% of canola, 88% of corn, 90% of cotton, 94% of soy, and 95% of sugar beets grown in the US are genetically modified.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO LABEL?
If the ingredients of a product are any of the following, the product is likely to contain GMOs and therefore SHOULD be labeled:
- Anything that contains: NON-ORGANIC corn, NON-ORGANIC soy, NON-ORGANIC canola, NON-ORGANIC cottonseed
- Animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) that are not organic can contain genetically modified hormones and were probably fed GMO food!
- Most chemical additives to food are made from GMO corn and soy.
- Sugar! Much of the sugar in the US is made from GMO sugar beets, including brown sugar.
Here is a partial list of high-risk ingredients:
|· Corn syrup
· Corn starch
· Corn oil
· Soy meal
· Soy Protein Isolate
· TVP (textured vegetable protein)
|· Vitamin E
· Xanthan gum
· Vitamin B-12
· Baking powder
· Yeast extract
· Modified food starch
· Vegetable Oil
· Cottonseed Oil
· Canola Oil
· Food Colorings
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT NOT TO LABEL?
- PRODUCE– very little produce is genetically modified. Only some Papayas from Hawaii are GMO, the rest is not for the time being. Novel products like seedless watermelons are NOT GMO!!! Keep in mind that produce that is not GMO can still contain high levels of pesticides and herbicides. Watch for a future blog with a guide to pesticides in produce.
- Anything with a non-GMO label. Keep in mind that there are typically allowances for percentages of GMO contamination, even in non-GMO labeling programs.
- ORGANIC FOOD Some food products that say they are organic actually only have one or two organic ingredients. Make sure you read the ingredients to see if they are ALL organic.
Elite Care by Dr. Liesa Harte, M.D.
1524 South IH 35, Suite 140
Austin, TX 78704