How to Buy Non-GMO Foods

It has been 20 years since a company owned by Monsano introduced the first genetically modified plant approved for consumption in the United States – the Flavr Savr tomato – and since then, scores of farmers have been producing more and more GM foods.

It is a controversial practice that has come under increasing scrutiny as many activities are worried about the potential effect of GMOS on human health as well as the environment. More people are now demanding, albeit in vain, that all foodstuff containing GMO ingredients be labelled as such.

Are you looking for a way to ensure that your diet is 100 percent GMO free? This guide will tell you how to shop for non-GMO products and what foods to avoid.

Choose Organic

While companies are not compelled by law to label their products as GM or non-GM, you can simply refuse to buy products that are not labelled as non-GM or organic. Limiting your purchases to Certified Organic, 100 percent organic and USDA organic-labelled products is usually the easiest way of avoiding GM ingredients. Moreover, the use of non-organic pesticides or crops is not allowed in organic farming and this helps create a better ecosystem.

The Labeling Details

  • 100 percent organic – these are products that contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients. This is the only label that certifies that a product is completely non-GM and completely organic.
  • USDA organic/ Certified Organic – the contents must be 95 percent organic by weight. The remaining 5 percent may consist of substances approved on the USDA’s NOSB National list, which excludes GMO products.
  • Non-GMO verified – this is a verification seal that indicates that the products have been taken through the Non-GMO Project’s verification process.

Do not trust the PLU codes and product stickers

There is a myth that the 5-digit coding sequence that begins with an 8 identifies products as GMO, however, this type of identification is completely options and as yet, no produce providers have complied.

You can however, trust the 5-digit code staring with a 9- that identifies organic fruits and vegetables as certified organic, which means they are GM-free.

Beware of artificial sweeteners

The most commonly used artificial sweetener, aspartame, is made using genetically modified bacterial strains of E. Coli. Moreover, Aspartame caries a whole lot of negative side effects you will do well to steer clear of.

Assume all non-organic soy, corn, canola and cottonseed ingredients are GMO

This is because these plants are mostly grown using GM seeds. Basically if a food is shelved in the centre aisles of a supermarket-v where most processed products are, then it is likely that it contains one or more of these ingredients. If you have a need for something made of soy of corn, be sure to seek it out from among the organic products, which do not contains GMO as per their certification.

Check you source of meat, pork and dairy

Cheese milk, eggs, beef, pork and chicken could all be made from animals that were given GM feed. To be safe, choose grass-fed, organic or non-GMO certified products.

In the United States, avoiding GM foods and ingredients in order to keep the family as healthy as possible takes a lot of dedication. These tips will go a long way in helping keep you shopping list free from GM products.

How to Eat Non-GMO on a Budget

Avoiding foods high in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is one of the simplest ways to avoid premature aging, immune problems and skin allergies. However, for people shopping on a budget, it can be difficult to strike the balance between healthy and affordable food. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be difficult, as long as you follow these simple tips.

Bulk Up on Fruit and Vegetables

Sticking to nature’s most nutritious food group is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your food is GMO-free. With the exception of a few, the majority of fruit and vegetables are completely non-GMO. Just take care when buying the following:

  • Hawaiian Papaya
  • Soy Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow summer squash

These are the only crops that tend to contain GMOs. To be safe, either avoid them altogether or check the label!

Consider Frozen Options

Frozen fruit and vegetables are almost always cheaper than their fresh counterparts. With the exception of the products listed above, you can ensure that what you’re buying is completely GMO-Free.

Choose Wholefoods over Processed Foods

Most of the GMOs that are harmful to our bodies are found in processed foods such as packaged cereals, tinned soups, candy and soda. Not only do these options have a negative impact on our health, they can have a negative impact on our purse strings, too!

Switching to a diet rich in whole foods is a great way to avoid GMOs and save money, too! Bulk up on dried grains and beans and avoid sugary products high in additives. You might even find joy in recreating some of your favorite guilty pleasures with all-natural ingredients.

Buy Store Brand Products

Did you know that store brand products are often produced in the same factories as the leading market brands? The only difference between the two products is usually the packaging and marketing campaigns! Pay just for the food you eat, and stick to store brand products.

Create a Meal Plan

To avoid reverting back to eating processed foods, stay organised in the kitchen. The best way to do this is to create a meal plan.

Pinterest is a great way to find inspiration for healthy meal ideas. Choose what you want to cook for the week and prepare your ingredients in advance. You’ll never want to eat a processed, GMO-filled ready meal again.

Use Coupons

Using coupons and save heaps on your grocery bills. Look out for buy one get one free offers, and stock up on all your favorite GMO cupboard staples.

Buy Local

One of the most effective ways to buy healthy, organic food is to visit your local farmer’s market. Since the costs of transportation, packaging and marketing aren’t footed to the customer, you can ensure you’re only paying for the food that you’re going to eat.

Plant your Own

Take going local one step further- your back garden! Of course, not everyone has the space to plant their own orchard or potato field. Start small and experiment with a tomato plant and see how much you save.

Buying GMO-Free food really doesn’t need to be complicated. Or expensive! Stick to whole foods and buy in bulk as close to home as possible. You can bet that your overall health will thank you!

How Much of Our Food Supply Is Genetically Engineered?

Genetically engineered food is not a new concept. Increasing number of farmers and poultry owners are resorting to genetically modify the crops and animals to get a better and superior quality yield. In simpler terms Genetic engineering modifies the DNA of plants, animals or bacteria by injecting a gene of another plant or animal. What it results into is a crop or meat that is of a better quality. You must have often come across food products that have GE mentioned on them. This is nothing else but an indication that the product is derived from genetically modified crops or animals. It is estimated that 80% of the processed foods in US contain at least one ingredient which is sourced from a genetically engineered crop. This means that you are exposed to a lot more genetical modification than you think.

Why is Genetic Engineering Required?

We live in a world where the population is increasing day by day and there is not enough food for all. Add to that the growing climatic change and increase in global warming which has not only affected the growth of plants and animals but the quality as well. The breakthrough has stemmed through this need for having abundant supply to feed the population.

As per the estimates from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization about 795 million people in the world are starving due to lack of adequate food supply. Scientists believe that a large part of this number can be brought down by using genetically engineered crops and animals. GMO food also claims to have the best quality and can be used to give certain of your favorite ingredients/foods a healthier approach than before. About 92% of the USA corn 94% of soybean 94% of cotton 95% of sugar beets is genetically modified.

Genetic Engineering

The biotech industry has been successful in creating a variety of bacteria which when infused into the genes of the desired plant have given astounding results. One of the best outcomes has been herbicide tolerance genetic modification. This protects the crops from damage when insecticide is sprayed on them. Genetic Engineering can also mean that crops can be grown in areas with scanty rainfalls and less fertile soils.

Genetic Engineering can speed up the process of harvest for the crops which means we can have abundant and increased supply overall. However the subject of genetic engineering is not without its share of doubts. There are some who believe that genetic engineering is basically tampering with the nature and may have its own perils. Basically introducing a completely different gene in the DNA can also lead to health hazards. Thankfully the US Food and Drug Administration have stringent quality checks for genetically modified food products before it reaches the food supply chain.

What kind of food do we consume?

The core ingredients of a majority of our products are Corn, soybeans and cotton. As a majority of these crops are genetically engineered, it can be safely assumed that almost 75% of our food is genetically modified. However the good news is that up till now there have been no reported harms of consuming these GMO products.

Common Products With GMO

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods, also known as Genetically Engineered (GE) foods have been around even before the GMO debate started. Most of the products in the market today contain traces of GMO. According to research, more than 60 percent of processed foods in the market today are genetically modified.

Why GMO Was Introduced

The biggest factor for the introduction GMOs was to fight crop diseases. For instance, transgenic papaya was first introduced in Hawaii after the original one was wiped by a viral disease. Today, almost all varieties of papaya grown in the US are GE.

GE crops have high resistance to diseases and can withstand the damaging effects of pesticides and insecticides. Genetically engineered crops also produce bigger and tasty yield. GE products are therefore economical for the farmers.

Common Foods With GMO

The first transgenic crop was introduced in the market in 1994, but today, 94 percent of the soybean varieties from the US are genetically engineered. 90 percent of papaya and cotton varieties grown are also transgenic. Other GE crops today include:

  • Corn – 88 percent of feed corn and a few varieties of sweet corn grown in the States is transgenic
  • Alfafa
  • Canola
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Some varieties of rice and wheat grown outside US

In addition, most snacks contain GMO, with research indicating that 40-75 per cent foods sold in the supermarket contain traces of GMO. Pizza, pre-cooked soups, ice cream and popular condiments have high levels of GMO.

GMOs are also used to produce fermented foods, cheese and starch products. 42 percent of the sugar consumed in the US is transgenic, and is mainly found in processed foods in the form of beet sugar. Therefore, most processed and sugary foods contain GMO.

Transgenic animals have also been produced in the lab. These include fish that grows faster than the normal rate, cows that produce milk with pharmaceuticals and sheep. However, they are yet to enter the market.

Negative Effects of GMOs

FDA has maintained that GE foods are safe for human consumption, but people still believe they deserve a chance to make the judgment for themselves. Though these foods are said to possess various health benefits over non-GE foods, various health scares have been reported in the US.

The main reason GE foods are opposed is because of the negative effect they have on the environment. Genetically modified crops not only pollute groundwater but also harm wildlife, making them ecological hazards.

Gene flow from transgenic crops to weeds is also feared to cause weed problem. Tests done on caterpillars showed that GE crops contained allergens that killed some and left others with stunted growth. Though the health effects on humans are not yet known, long-term consumption of GE foods has been linked to various types of cancers.

In conclusion, it is important to note that government regulators have already approved the use of GMOs and there might not be turning back on this. Though the long-term impacts of these foods on your health are not yet clear, it is good to protect yourself and your family by making wise health choices.

List of Food Without GMO

While GMO foods come with the promise of maximizing food potential and nutritional value, there is no consensus in the scientific community that they are safe. In fact animal studies on the effect of GMO foods has linked several serious health risks associated with it, including immune problems, infertility, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes to internal organs.

Are you looking t go GMO free in your diet? If so, it is best to create a list of foods that have been certified to be GMO-free and stick to it. This sounds easy but it is not, mainly because major companies that supply food to store shelves are opposed to GMO labeling.

Here are few tips to help you create a list of GM free foods for your kitchen.

1. Look for organic

The US National Organic Standards prohibits GM, which makes shopping organic a great way to avoid GM foods. What’s more, organic foods have very few or no Herbicides pesticides and fungicides in addition to having higher vitamin and mineral levels. You should choose foods labelled “organic,” “100 percent organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.” You should also focus on fibre since most grains, seeds, beans and nuts are non-GM. Some of the products that are thought to be genetically modified but are surprisingly GM-free include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat

2. Grass fed meat

When shopping for meat products, choose meat that is labelled as 100 percent grass fed. While genetically modified fish, fowl and livestock are yet to be approved for animal consumption, it is likely that the feed those animals consume may be genetically modified.

3. Load up on fruits and veggies

Most fresh produce is GMO-free, except for yellow summer squash, zucchini, sweet corn, edamame and papaya from china and Hawaii which are consider high risk. You should only purchase these high-risk fruits and vegetables if they are labelled as “organic” or “non-GMO.”

4. Look out for the non-GMO verified seal

There is no legislation to compel food companies to label their products as GMO or non-GMO. Fortunately, there are some that label their food products with a seal that identifies them as non-GMO. This seal is one of the best ways of identifying food that are free from genetic modification.

5. Only purchase wild-caught sea food

Most farm-raised fish are fed GMO feeds thus raising the risk of transferring the negative effects to the consumer. Only go for wild-caught sea food to avoid eating GMO products unwittingly.

6. Ask about the additives

Some of the most common GMO plant products – canola, corn, soy, sugar beets and cotton – often end up as additives (sugar, oil, corn syrup, thickeners, flavorizers, etc.) in packaged foods so be sure to check the ingredients carefully.

Conclusion

Most processed foods, including frozen ones may contain at-GM-risk ingredients and emulsifiers so stay away from them unless they are labelled non-GM or organic. The best way to ensure that no GM foods end up in your diet is to avoid processed foods altogether and prepare your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients.

The Best GMO-Free Food Brands

Do you miss the days when you could walk into your local store and not have to worry about organic or genetically modified foods? Are you concerned with the rate at which nowadays, more foodstuffs are GMO or have genetically ingredients? Would you like to know how to select the best GMO free brands when shopping at your local store? Then I highly suggest that you read on.

What Are GMO-Free Brands?

Put simply, GMO-Free food brands are those you will hear being referred to as being 100% organic. When a particular food brand does not have any Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and has ingredients that are 100% organic, then it is GMO-Free.

Genetic Modification (GM) or engineering of food involves a laboratory process. During this laboratory process, genes are artificially inserted into the DNA of animals or food crops. The artificially inserted genes may be sourced from viruses, animals, bacteria, insects, and even human beings, in certain cases. This results in what is commonly known as a GMO. These brands do not contain any GMO organisms. You may hear many of these brands being referred to as organic foods. Whenever you check the label and note that the particular food brand you are interested in is made with 100% natural ingredients, then it is probably GMO-free.

Effects of Consuming GMO Food Brands

Some of the negative consequences that are associated with consuming GMO food brands include the following:

1. Developing Resistance to Antibiotics

To guide experiments, genetic engineers rely on antibiotics. This is because not all foreign genes are taken up by host cells. In this regard, the trait for a particular type of antibiotic resistance is attached to the gene introduced into the host cell. This overuse of antibiotics results in the development of antibiotic pathogens, and this may negatively impact on your health.

2. Creating New Allergens

GM foods have been proven to create new allergenic particles in our foods. Genetic engineering may also increase naturally occurring allergen levels already existing in the food product.

3. Exposure to Pesticides

Most GM foods for cultivation have been engineered to have a pesticide-resistant gene. This means that such crops can be sprayed with weed destroying pesticides that do not harm the plant itself. One way or the other, this exposes you to such pesticides. Some of the health effects of pesticides include damage to your reproductive system, congenital disabilities, and cancer.

4. Unpredictability

Even in this day and age, you will find that the issue of DNA is quite complicated for scientists to comprehend fully. Scientists are yet to understand the complexities of the interactions of gene pools at the DNA level. In the host, the genetic material that is foreign may cause other genetic material in the host to behave in an erratic and unpredictable nature.

How Can I Pick Out The Best Brand?

For you to select brands that are GMO-Free, there are some factors you need to consider. Consider the following:

  1. Always buy organic food or food with ingredients that are 100% natural.
  2. Avoid foods that have ingredients that are classified as “at risk.” Such elements are made from food or animal products with GMO. Some of the most common genetically engineered ingredients that you will find in processed foods include canola, corn, cottonseed and soybeans. In the recent past, you will see that this list has expanded to include genetically modified beet sugar.
  3. Check the label of your product. You will notice that many food processing and manufacturing companies label their products as “non-GMO.” Alternatively, you may come across some food products labeled as either having 100% organic ingredients or “Made without Genetically Modified Ingredients.”

Whenever it is possible, make sure you choose the best GMO free brands. With such organic, natural foods, you will be able to avoid the unpredictability associated with GMO food brands. You will enjoy healthy foods that will not expose you to harmful pesticides and allergens. GMO-free brands are the healthiest way you can enjoy tasty food that is free of chemicals and harmful, synthetic additives. So why not make the right choice. Go for food that is GMO-free and supports a healthy, chemical free diet.

The Best Organic GMO Free Yogurts

The main reason why is because it’s healthier for you, your family, the environment, and the dairy cows. Yogurt that’s not processed contains a lot more flavor as well as key ingredients that are beneficial to your body. Probiotics, active cultures, minerals, and fruits are all found in all natural yogurts.

Not to mention, many organic companies have local pasture based farms, which allows for free roaming (and happier) cattle.

What’s the Difference between Organic, GMO Free, and Processed Yogurt?

The main difference is the fact that processed yogurt often sources from livestock that is treated with antibiotics. This livestock also consumes pesticide treated plants, which means that these chemicals can make their way into your yogurt. Because of this organic, GMO free is a lot healthier for you than processed.

Reasons to Avoid GMO Yogurt

Most people are content to settle for “cheaper” brands because they think they’re just as good as the organic brands. However, this is definitely NOT the case! Here are a few reasons why you should shop cleaner:

  • It’s a lot healthier for you (GMOs can cause allergies, sickness, and typically lack the nutrients that organics have.)
  • Non-organic yogurt also contains a lot more processed sugar whereas all natural versions rely on fruit sugars.
  • Processed foods, particularly yogurt, don’t contain the same amounts of probiotics and active cultures as their organic counterparts.
  • What cows eat inevitably gets passed onto us, which includes chemicals, toxins, and pesticides if it doesn’t have a certified organic label.
  • You can feel better about buying organic yogurt because it supports local farmers who take care of their livestock (no tight cages or unsanitary living quarters

What Brands Should I Trust?

Just because a yogurt company claims to be organic and free of GMO doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Some of the brands that make this claim lack healthy probiotics may include chemicals, or source from livestock that eats plants treated with pesticides. Here’s a short list of brands that come highly recommended from various websites and myself included:

  • Strauss Creamery – The European style yogurts are as rich in healthy cultures as they are in flavor. As an added bonus, the containers are completely recyclable.
  • Stonyfield – Not only are their yogurts extremely tasty, but the company is also environmentally concerned with is a major plus.
  • Nancy’s – If you’re looking for yogurt that is rich in probiotics and healthy cultures this is the best brand. Its limited ingredient list is also great for sensitive stomachs.
  • Wallaby – Wallaby’s is another pasture-based farm that employs limited and natural ingredients to create delicious yogurt.

All Natural and All Better

Processed yogurt is full of sugar, artificial flavoring, chemicals, pesticides, and lacks a lot of the key nutrients that all natural yogurt has. Organic, non-GMO yogurt is a lot healthier because it takes advantage of free-range cattle and natural flavorings. This means not only a better taste, but also a healthier snack option than the processed types.

Long story short, natural GMO free yogurt is better for you, the environment, farmers, and livestock!

Organic vs Genetically Modified Food: The Difference

Food is very personal, and one of the few things that we can control. Deborah Koons Garcia discusses the problems associated with genetically modified foods and the increased dependence on pesticides and herbicides in her film “The Future of Food.” Monsanto & Con Agra are an agricultural industry giants that are buying up seed companies, homogenizing seed supply, and then making modified versions of seed that are resistant to their patented herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.

Know The Difference

Genetically modified foods (GM foods) are those that have been produced from GM Organisms. These changes in the food come from specific changes in the foods DNA done through genetic engineering. These techniques are done to produce extra nutrients, faster growth and resistance to viruses or bacteria. Should we be wary of such foods? We probably should, simply because we don’t know enough about GMOs. There has been little scientific testing on humans, and at least in some cases the results on animals has not been good.

We are not talking about hybridization here, as sometimes that is confused with GMOs. Hybridization crosses dissimilar individual organisms to produce the best of each organism. For instance, combining a type of plant that has disease resistant qualities with one with great production capacity, the end product is a plant that is disease resistant with greater yields. This crossbreeding of different species of plants has been done for centuries, and has done wonders to increase food production over this time.

GMOs, on the other hand, are organisms that are altered at the gene level, and it is an entirely different ballgame. Genes from a plant, animal, or virus can be inserted into another organism, usually a plant, thereby irreversibly altering its genetic code. The health risks of genetic altered food have not been clearly identified, and few studies have been done evaluating the impact on our health. If you are wondering why we humans are basically being used as human guinea pigs, there is big money involved, both with producers who are overnight dramatically increasing their yields along with the biotech industry.

Laws in the United States do not force foods that have GM ingredients to be labeled, and it is estimated that as much as two-thirds of the food in grocery stores contain some genetically engineered ingredients. That is where organic foods come in. Unless you purchase only organic food, more than likely you will have something that has been modified, particularly if they have ingredients containing corn or soybeans.

So why is organic food your safest options? If you don’t want to tempt fate by having these kinds of foods in your diet, genetically engineered materials or seeds are not allowed in food production or organic farming. This is really the only way you can be sure to avoid GM food. And don’t be drawn in to the label that says its “natural”, as it has no meaning. “Natural” does not mean organic and genetically altered foods can still carry the “natural” label.

Finally, support any legislation that supports labeling of GM foods. Until now the biotech industry has lobbied to keep any labels off those foods, but consumers should at least know how their food has been produced.

Genetically Modified Food – Pros And Cons

GM foods have been on the market for nearly 20 years now and during this period, you have probably consumed GMO in many foods; from dairy products, from soybeans, beets, corn, sugar, rapeseed and cotton seed among others. According to the USDA, 94 percent of all soy and 75 percent of all corn grown in the United States is genetically modified, and 75 percent of processed foods sold are made using GM ingredients.

While introducing genes from other organisms to enhance the characteristics of certain crops or animals may not seem controversial, there are quite a few concerns and for many people, understanding the concept of GMO in order to make reasonable purchasing decisions can be quite complicated. To make this easier, here are the pros and cons of GM foods.

GMO Dairy

Pros

Better overall taste

Flavors can be enhanced through the modification of foods. For instance:

  • Corns can be made sweeter
  • Pepper can become sweeter or spicier
  • Difficult flavors can become more palatable.

Enhanced nutritional benefits

GM foods can be engineered to contain higher amounts of specific vitamins or minerals to provide greater nutritional benefits to those who consume them. This is especially true for developing countries where access to needed resources is not always guaranteed.

More resistance to disease

GM plants can be made more resistant to pests and diseases thus improving yield and reducing costs via reduced care needs. The farmer also uses few pesticides, thus reducing the potential for exposure to the pesticides.

Cons

Increased allergy risks

The process of genetic modification adds or mixes proteins that were not indigenous to original organism, resulting in new allergic reactions to those who consume them. In some instances, proteins from an organism you are allergic to may be incorporated in an organism you weren’t allergic to, thus promoting the same allergic reaction you would have experienced from consuming the first organism.

Decreased antibiotic efficiency

Consuming GMO foods that have had antibiotic features added to make them resistant to disease can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics when you eat them as the antibiotic markers may persist in the body.

Gene transfer

The risk of modified genes in GMOS escaping to the wild is one of the biggest concerns surrounding GMOs. For example, herbicide resistant genes from crops may cross into the weed population resulting in “super weeds” that are extremely had o kill using herbicides. Another risk involves genetically enhanced vegetation or animals turning out to be super organisms that out-compete natural plant and animal populations to drive other species into extinction.

Lack of economic value

Some GMO foods just as much time to mature and effort to tend, which means that farmers may not derive any economic value from growing genetically modified foods compared to non-GMO foods.

Why should we evaluate the benefits and the risk of GMO foods? The simple answer is that the pros have to outweigh the risks to warrant mass production. GM foods make a lot of sense in places where the resources are thin and people are dying from hunger. However in other places, the risks greatly outweigh the rewards, and organic farming is encouraged.