Five Facts to Know about GMOs…and Five Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Exposure
WHAT TO KNOW…
1. What is a GMO? GMOs (genetically modified organisms, also known as genetically engineered-GE) are altered at the molecular level through laboratory processes that take genes from one species and insert them into another to obtain desired traits.
2. Environmental concerns. GMOs may migrate and damage other farms and ecosystems. They have been known to cross-pollinate and contaminate non-GMO crops; once they get into the wild they cannot be recalled. Additionally, studies have shown GMO crops often use more pesticides than non-GMO crops.
3. Safety. The safety of GMOs for human consumption has not been assured. Several studies have affirmed that GMO crops have the potential to introduce new toxins or allergens into our food and environment. There are no mandatory human clinical trials for GMO crops, no requirement for long-term testing on animals, and limited testing requirements on allergenicity.
4. Presence. As much as 60-70% of processed foods available in U.S. grocery stores likely contain some GMOs. If you eat something with high fructose corn syrup, there’s a 90% likelihood that you are consuming GMOs.
5. Labeling. Most developed countries, including the 15 nations of the European Union, Japan, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and China, have mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.
5 Things You Can Do
WHAT TO DO…
1. Buy organic. The USDA’s official organic standards prohibit products that were grown and made with GMOs. Organic food and products are the best way to avoid GMOs.
2. If not organic, look for the Non-GMO Project label. If a product carries the Non-GMO Project Verified Label, it has been tested and found to have less than 0.9% GMO contamination.
3. Avoid foods that are most likely to be GMOs. There are nine GMO crops on the market today: corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, canola, Hawaiian papaya, yellow crookneck squash, and zucchini. Those crops often end up in the following foods when processed: corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil, beef, milk, chicken, farmed fish, soy lecithin, soy protein, vegetable oil, and cottonseed oil.
4. Write the FDA to demand labeling on all foods that contain GMOs. Politicians need to hear the message loud and clear: we all have a right to know what’s in our food. You can add your voice to the campaign by going to justlabelit.org
5. Educate your family and friends. Spread the word by telling people about the unknown and negative impacts of GMOs. (Do you know that the FDA is close to approving GE salmon, the world’s first genetically engineered animal?) Sign the petition to have your food labeled and then pass it on: justlabelit.org.
WHAT IS ORGANIC?
Organic food production methods promote biodiversity, the biological cycling of nutrients, and plant and animal health. Certified organic farmers may not use toxic synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and unnecessary hormones or antibiotics. Instead, they use practices that restore, maintain, and enhance soil and ecosystem health. GMOs, artificial ingredients, or trans fats may not be used.
Source: “LABEL IT NOW: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS,” by Gary Hirshberg, Dr. Chuck Benbrook, and Britt Lundgren and The Organic Center / Generations of Organic