Have you ever wondered how the genetically-altered food we eat every day is actually made? The truth isn’t pretty.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invading our food supply like a hoard of locusts. But how safe are they for human consumption?
The genetic makeup of GMO food has been artificially manipulated to create an organism that does not exist in nature. I like to call these Frankenfoods—imagining a mad scientist with a tomato and a fish on the table, fusing them together in a loud crack electricity to create a frost-proof tomato monster!
Of course, that’s not how it’s done… but scientists in lab coats did create that frost-proof tomato by splicing tomato and fish genes together. And then there’s the case of the genetically altered goat that produces spider web in its milk. … It sounds like science fiction, but suddenly I’m not hungry anymore.
So, what do you do when you’re standing in the middle of the produce section with your basket and your list, half-aware that you’re surrounded by Frankenfood? Don’t panic. Consider this post your GMO survival guide.
Here are the top 8 foods that are high risk for being GMO, according to The GMO Project. Watch out for these not only in their whole form, but as ingredients in processed foods.
8 HIGH RISK GMO FOODS
#1 – Alfalfa
Think you’re in the clear because you skip the alfalfa sprouts on your sandwich? Sorry, think again. The primary use for alfalfa is as a livestock feed for dairy cattle. Once that GMO hay is chewed by the cow, it goes into the cow’s system and thus becomes part of the milk supply. So, stay away from commercially produced milk and milk products—and skip the sprouts, unless they’re organically grown.
#2 – Canola
What’s a Canola? It’s actually derived from the less marketing-friendly rapeseed. Food grade Canola was genetically engineered to lower the erucic acid levels, and when you ingest the oil, you’re eating a highly concentrated form of this GMO plant. The thing that makes avoiding Canola hard is that it’s an ingredient in so many foods—especially since it’s been touted as the healthier choice in oils. It’s in everything from mayonnaise to cookies, so if you’re buying prepared foods you really need to read the labels carefully.
#3 – Corn
Almost 90% of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Of course, I don’t advocate using corn at all except in it’s fresh, organic form. But if you’ve chosen to eat corn, be aware that unless it’s got that USDA Organic label, it’s probably GMO and likely to be Bt GM corn—a corn crop developed to resist pests by exploding their stomachs. Watch for corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, and corn flour in any packaged foods you might be buying.
#4 – Cotton
Okay, I understand that you’re not eating your cotton t-shirt… but cottonseed oil is in a lot of processed food. The thing is, not only is it probably GMO, but cotton is also a highly sprayed crop—so it’s full of toxic chemicals.
#5 – Papaya
NOT the crop you might imagine when you think GMO, but most of the Hawaiian grown papayas are, indeed, engineered. You may not be buying fresh papaya, but keep an out for papaya enzymes and watch your cosmetics—papaya extract is a popular ingredient in lotions, creams, shampoo, conditioner, and other beauty products. Remember, you probably shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put on your mouth.
#6 – Soy
Almost all U.S. soy is genetically modified. We’re not just talking tofu, here. You’re going to have to be vigilant if you’re buying any kind of processed foods, because GM soy disguises itself as all sorts of things, including: textured vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, mono and di-glycerides, soy sauce, teriyaki, MSG (monosodium glutamate), soybean oil. Sometimes soy can be hiding in these ingredients as well: guar gum, vegetable starch, thickener, mixed tocopherols, and natural flavoring. If you’re not interested in reading carefully, maybe just skip the processed foods altogether!
#7 – Sugar Beets
Yep, sugar is so bad for you for all the obvious reasons—and now here’s another one. Most white sugar comes from sugar beets, and 95% of them are GMO. If you want to use sugar at all, use pure cane sugar… or preferably, coconut sugar. If you’re buying packaged foods and trying to avoid sugar, good luck. It’s in everything from pasta sauce to chips and fruit juices.
#8 – Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash
These aren’t often hiding in other products, but be sure to buy your zucchini and summer squash organic to make sure you’re not getting GMO.
These are the top eight high-risk GMO ingredients that are abundant in our food supply. Monsanto has actually developed a GM wheat, but it never made it to market because of economics—other countries wouldn’t import it.
While some countries have supported bans on GM crops of all kinds, the U.S. is among the few that have embraced them. It’s time for us to fight back with the one weapon that does the most damage—the almighty dollar.
Don’t buy products with GM ingredients, skip the GM produce, and let’s see if we can make a change. At the very least, you’ll make an impact where it’s most important… on your health.