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Say No to GMO, Part 3

We are so delighted that the bans on GMO crops in Jackson and Josephine Counties passed.  This goes a long way to helping us avoid GMOs in our valley...but what about GMOs on our plates?  In this article, I will provide you with some tips for eating GMO free. 

It can be challenging for many folks to remove the GMOs from their meals.  But now is the time to pay attention to GMOs,  for your health, the health of your children, and the future of food in our country (since we vote with our dollars at the checkout line).  Even if all you feel able to do is to remove part of the GM foods in your diet, that is a big improvement, so here are some guidelines for making that improvement in your own life.
The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) and wise health practitioners recommend these tips to keep GM foods out of your body:
How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods:

Buy Organic – Organic producers are not permitted to intentionally use GMOs.

Look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal

Avoid At-Risk Ingredients - If it's not labeled organic, or doesn't have a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal, then avoid processed food product ingredients made with these GM crops: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed and Beet sugar.  In the U.S., where we are quite behind the times in regards to laws about GMO foods, these plants are likely grown using genetically modified seeds. Basically, if it's a food in the center aisles of your supermarket - where all of the processed ‘food’ is - then it likely contains one or more of these ingredients: 

  • Corn – Includes corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrups; Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose; and Modified food starch
  • Soy – Includes soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone; Vegetable oil and vegetable protein, TVP
  • Canola - Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)
  • Cotton - Cottonseed oil
  • Sugar - Avoid anything not listed as 100% cane sugar since GM beet sugar recently entered the food supply. To avoid it, look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and chocolate made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar (rapadura or sucannat).
  • Aspartame - The artificial sweetener also known as NutraSweet and Equal, which is derived from GM microorganisms.
  • More than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is GM, and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash.

Beware of "Invisible GM Ingredients" - Ingredient lists are often difficult to decipher and some of these foreign-sounding ingredients are derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Some of the more common products include: whey, xanthan gum, glutamate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, cellulose, citric acid, maltodextrin and mono and diglycerides.

Choose certified organic dairy products - Conventional dairy products are taken from cattle raised with rBGH, a growth hormone likely containing genetically modified components.Fortunately, there are organic and rBGH-free dairy products out there and they are becoming more prevalent.

Don't trust the produce stickers and PLU codes on fruits and vegetables - There are many myths regarding the small coded stickers on produce - that these codes can help identify GMO fruits and vegetables. But, while many people are convinced a 5-digit code beginning with an 8 identifies a GMO, such identification is completely optional and, as of yet, no produce providers have chosen to be so forthcoming. The one you can trust is a 5-digit code starting with a 9 - that identifies organic fruits and vegetables and by their classification as certified organic, they are GMO free.

Download IRT’s Shopping Guides:  Use either IRT's new Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure or redesigned Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid GM foods. They devote an entire page in each guide to help you uncover hidden GM ingredients on food labels that often read more like a chemical periodic table. If you have an iPhone, download their ShopNoGMO guide for free from the iTunes store.  You can also download the app for a GMO free shopping guide here: or pick up a paper copy at WWCA.
Additional Hints from Summer:
Whenever possible, choose real foods which will nourish your body, most of which do not have labels!  Aside from the GMO issue, it’s always best for your health and longevity (and heart, and digestive system, and waist line, etc.) to leave processed foods on the shelves!   
I hope many of you will join me in choosing the foods that help our bodies function at their optimum.  Now is the time!

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