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Tag: genetically modified food

Hidden Places Where GMOs Lurk

Here are a few places where you might not think you’d find Genetically Modified ingredients, so be aware.

Breakfast cereals. Almost all of the corn and soy crops in the USA are now GMOs; unless your cereal sports the Non-GMO Project or Certified Organic seals, be certain that, by default, they contain GMO corn or soy.

Soda pop. If it contains high fructose corn syrup, you can bet it’s full of concentrated modified/mutated DNA. I’m pretty sure that there is not a GMO-free version of high fructose corn syrup, but let me know if I’m mistaken.

Chewing gum. If it contains Aspartame, it contains GMOs. Same goes for Diet sodas.

Chicken. Yep, those chicken nuggets, chicken fajitas, chicken sandwiches, chicken burritos… Even that plain grilled chicken breast on rice served at the luncheon and that roasted half-breast-and-leg portion offered at some fancy restaurants. All of that comes from chickens fed a feed made up of corn and soy. Yep, you guessed, it: unless it’s specifically labeled as Organic of GMO-free, it’s most assuredly chock-full of GMOs. So the chickens eat the feed and now they incorporate the GMOs into their flesh.

Eggs. See above. Always choose organic eggs.

Beef. Cows, too, are fed a feed made of GMO corn and GMO soy. The mutated DNA remains in the meat of the animal, which means that your hamburger is likely brimming with tinkered DNA.

Milk. See above. Studies have shown that GMOs pass into the flesh, milk, and eggs of animals fed GMO-contaminated feed. This goes for non-organic yogurts, too.

Genetically modified foods and your health

In a recent cooking class, a student raised his hand and asked: “What is so bad about genetically modified foods?”non-gmo project verified seal

Everywhere I go I hear variations on this question, and in some ways, it has become one of my missions to open our eyes about the dangers of GMOs.

Why are GMOs so bad?

Let’s just start by pointing out that we have been unwittingly made part of the largest experiment on the public health in the history of this planet. Twenty years ago, when the FDA approved the first genetically modified seeds for planting and introduction into the American food supply, all of the scientific research was presented by staff scientists for the chemical companies applying for the permission: Monsanto, Cargill, and others. Research had been limited to experiments of weeks and done on rodents, not humans. Despite these companies’ track records of assuring public safety with products like Agent Orange and DDT (Monsanto), the FDA took a “safe until proven otherwise” stance.

Did anyone ask you if you wanted to opt out of this experiment?

Current studies are linking GMOs to tumors and infertility, but the truth is that we really don’t know how bad they are for us. GMOs have infiltrated our food supply to the point that, unless you are very careful, every time you cook with canola oil or eat a corn chip or drink milk or have a soda with high fructose corn syrup, you are ingesting GMOs.

Genetically modified corn is designed to burst open the bellies of insects as a pest control method; our society is riddled with chronic ailments stemming from inflamed, leaky guts like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, chronic fatigue, migraines, and more. Could there be a link? Maybe.

The FDA says the jury is still out about the health effects of GMOs. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wait for them to make up their minds when it comes to my health. My goal is to avoid GMO foods whenever possible by buying organic and looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on packaged goods.

GMO A-go-go

In case we’ve become complacent about GMOs in our food supply, here’s a cute, satirical cartoon to remind us just what GMOs are all about.

Which Produce Should I Always Buy Organic

It feels like a good time to review the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of fruit and vegetables with the heaviest loads of pesticides.

Although I try to only buy organic produce whenever I can, sometimes it’s just not possible and I must settle for a conventionally-produced fruit or vegetable. It’s times like these that I want to look back at the list of the best and worst for your health when it comes to conventionally-farmed produce.

Just this morning I was in Whole Foods trying to remember how terrible it would be were I to get those conventionally-farmed-but-vibrant orange and yellow bell peppers, since there were not any organic peppers in the store. Not good, it turns out.

Go Organic
I think it will be easiest to remember the ones I want to ban from my cart first, so here are the twelve fruits and vegetables that we should buy organic whenever possible because they carry the highest toxic loads:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears

If you’re like me and KitchenStewardship, you might also include a few others on this list, like bananas, blueberries, and spinach.

Ok to Go Conventional
On the other side of the coin, it’s nice to know the safest conventional produce, too, for those times when organic items are not available or astronomically expensive. Here are the fifteen fruits and vegetables that have the least toxic load from conventional farming:

1. Onion
2. Avocado
3. Sweet corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mango
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet peas
8. Kiwi
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Papaya
12. Watermelon
13. Broccoli
14. Tomato
15. Sweet potato

It’s interesting to see sweet corn on this list, as it is something we insist must be organic before we bring it into our house. This list is only looking at the pesticide load, I believe, whereas we are more concerned with genetic modifications when it comes to corn. Thanks to Monsanto, most of the conventional corn available in this country is genetically modified to produce its own insect repellent when grown with their Round-Up pesticide.

But I digress. That is a topic for another post.

The Environmental Working Group’s pocket-sized printout of this list of safe produce is great to carry with you in your wallet. You can also get the iPhone app.

Have any others to add that you insist should always be organic at your house? Add them in the comments below!

Genetically modified foods damage fertility

A new study shows that genetically modified foods damage fertility.

“This work will do huge damage to the GM industry worldwide, since it shows that a crop — Monsanto’s maize line NK603 x MON810 — which has been approved as safe by EFSA, and given consent for use in food and feed by the EC, is in fact dangerous to health.  It demonstrates that the approvals process is at best inadequate and at worst corrupt.”

-Dr. Brian John of GM Free Cymru speaking about a new study out of Austria confirming previous study results that indicate GM corn damages the reproductive system of laboratory rats.

Let’s hope that this study will affect the credibility, legality, and profitabilty of the genetically-modified food industry.

Did you catch the recent article about Monsanto’s evil doings in Vanity Fair magazine? News of their nefarious practices is finally reaching mainstream America and opening our eyes to the truth behind GM food.

I loved the part in Michael Pollen’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, where he finishes up an in-depth exploration of the history and cultivation of the potato by hesitantly eating a genetically-modified specimen in an Idaho potato farmer’s kitchen.