May 31st, 2011

GMOs: We Have a Right to Know

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genetically modified organism
Think about what you’ve eaten this week. If you’ve eaten any processed foods that weren’t certified organic (guilty!)then they probably contained genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Today over 70 percent of corn and 90 percent of soy are genetically modified, and these two crops form the basis of a typical American diet.

SayNoToGMOs.org – Get started! from April Macaraeg on Vimeo.

Let’s talk GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (also called GM, GE or GMOs) refers to crop plants that are consumed by animals and/or humans that have been tweaked or modified in a lab to boost desired traits such as: the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide, disease resistance and improved nutritional value.  These results have no health benefit, only an economic benefit to the company producing them.

Food with GMOs looks and tastes the same, but it’s not the same. Food producers have been altering and messing with our food with the blessing of the FDA, but without our permission.

GMO labeling isn’t required in the US. Does that bother you?

It bothers me. We have the right to know what’s going into our food-don’t we? Yet In the US the FDA doesn’t require the labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists. If we take a look at our friends in the EU and other countries -GMO labeling has been the norm for years.

GMOs place organic crops at risk

The USDA continues to support deregulation of crops such as alfalfa, corn and sugar beets. This deregulation creates a real risk for cross contamination. Pollen from GM crops and trees can contaminate nearby crops and wild plants of the same type, except for soy, which doesn’t cross-pollinate.  We can bid farewell to our organic crops if GM crops continue to grow.

Dangers of GMOs

The effects of GMOs haven’t been studied in humans. Pretty scary to imagine what they are doing to us since we do know what GMO’s are doing to lab animals:

  • Toxic and allergic reactions
  • Sick and dead livestock
  • Infertility
  • Immune problems
  • Damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.

How many times have you heard someone say: “I don’t remember kids having food allergies when I was growing up”?  Maybe GMO’s are the cause or at least a factor in this surge of food allergies, environmental allergies, ADHD and other diagnoses.

What can we do to avoid GMO’s?

Our pocket books can do some of the talking since food buying power has a tremendous impact on our food system. If we continue to support sustainable farmers we are sending a message to those producing foods that are NOT sustainable -letting them know that we don’t want them.

Here are a few tips to avoid GMOs in food:

  • Buy a share directly from a farm (CSA) that is USDA Certified Organic. Ask if they sell produce that is non-GMO.
  • By food that isn’t processed-opt for whole foods that are certified organic.
  • Grow your own food using organic heirloom seeds.
  • Shop at your local farmers market and don’t be afraid to ask the question: “is your food non-GMO?”
  • Look for food labels that say “non-GMO” or “GMO free”. There seem to be more and more companies willing to label their products, although not required.
  • Buy wild fish rather than farm raised and meat that was 100% grass fed. Fish and livestock are many times fed GM feed.
  • Avoid aspartame as a sweetener-it is derived from GMOs.
  • Know which foods are most likely to contain GMOs:
    • Corn, soybeans, dairy, meats, canola and cottonseed oil and sugar beets.

More ideas on how to help

Bottom line: Take the time to investigate where your food is coming from. Keep your family safe by asking the right questions and educating yourself on the issues.

Do you try to avoid food with GMOs?

Sources:

Video used with permission of SaynotoGMOs.org

Healthy Child Healthy World

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[Top photos used under Creative Commons from John S. Quarterman/Flickr]

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25 Responses to “GMOs: We Have a Right to Know”

  1. It amazes me that some companies feel we shouldn’t have a right to know if our food is grown or engineered.

  2. Two words: Pea Nuts. Okay that’s one word but what is going on? Our schools have banned homemade food for fear of peanut contamination and kids that are allergic sit at separate tables. It’s alarming how many more kids I see at the “peanut free” table each year and ya have to wonder why??? Could it be GMO’s?

    And…even if we can get clear cut labeling, nature’s way is to spread and share. How long before those GMO’s pollinate across the entire agricultural system?

    Scary stuff Lori, thanks for tackling this important subject!

  3. Hi Petunia-The number of kids with nut allergies is frightening. My sons nut free table is packed with kids. If the labeling system would be transparent then we could all make our own, educated decisions about what we eat. You are right Petunia-GMO’s could destroy the entire agri system through cross pollination. Crazy stuff going on.

  4. Tiffany-it really is incomprehensible that this stuff goes on. How can it be that labeling is such a big deal? As you said, we have the right to know where our food comes from.

  5. I don’t even know where to begin on this issue. I can’t believe how big business is being allowed to run rampant in the US – not other countries – and how, unless you are really investigating, you don’t even know. How many people don’t know what GMO means? Have to admit that I only became aware of it in the last couple years. Is our democracy going to be our downfall? I truly hope not, but…. I didn’t even think about getting organic seeds to grow my own veggies. We planted a garden again this year, but I honestly didn’t think to make sure the plants weren’t started with non-GMO seeds. Then the cross-pollination issue. OMG! Do we need to do DNA testing on our food? Sorry for the rant. I just can’t believe it all sometimes.

  6. I just recently found your blog and I must say I love it. There have been so many articles where I have learned things I never knew, this one included. Until this morning, I had no idea what GMO’s were. Your article has made me search the web for more information, and I am not liking what I read. I have already signed 2 petitions and sent letters to my congressmen. It is so scary to me that I could be feeding my sons (4) these things in their foods.

    Thank you for this blog and all the great information you provide.

  7. Scary stuff. We have to ask ourselves how safe GMOs could possibly be if producers are so unwilling to let us know they’re using them! I’m not 100% convinced that I’m suffering negative health effects from consuming GMOs, but I’m against monocultures and worry about what will happen to organic crops. I’m also appalled that a small number of mega corporations control the vast majority of the North American agriculture industry with their GM seeds.

  8. We absolutely try our very best to avoid GMOs, but it’s defintiely tough. It’s so frustrating to have to be so diligent when it comes to healthy eating – it shouldn’t be such a challenge.

  9. Hi Cathy-It is so challenging. Especially when things aren’t labeled. We have a right to know where our food comes from. Seems like it should be common sense-oh well!

  10. p.s. @Cathy your blog looks amazing :)

  11. Hi Andrea, I agree-it is pretty frightening to think of who is actually controlling our food supply. You’re right, it’s hard to know what GM crops are doing to us. I suspect that over the years more and more info will come out.

  12. Hi Stefanie-thanks so much for the positive feedback! I am so glad you were inspired to take action against GMOs. It is pretty scary that they are in so many of the processed foods that we eat. I really appreciate your stopping by and I look forward to getting to “know” you.

  13. Hi Kristina-You didn’t rant! You made some excellent points about GMOs. I think there are a lot of people who don’t fully understand what GMOs are. It is a very tricky topic and one that doesn’t get enough clarification. That’s why it’s so important to keep the discussion going -just like you are doing. We all learn as we go. Next year when you are ready to plant those non-GMO seeds will be ready to go!

  14. [...] spoke about the health risks of GMO’s. She explained the legal dilemma, the criminal injustice against small farmers in [...]

  15. [...] levels and lower your risk of heart disease. The problem with canola oil is most canola oil is genetically modified (93 percent in the U.S.). If you are going to use canola oil make sure it’s certified [...]

  16. [...] of their princess and Spiderman lunch boxes marketed to children. I’ve written a lot about GMOs and our right to know what’s in our food. These issues are issues that I would hope all of us [...]

  17. [...] Genetic engineering (GMOs) [...]

  18. [...] chocolate treats are filled with Genetically Modified Organisms (also called GM, GE or GMOs). GMOs refers to crop plants that are consumed by animals and/or humans that have been tweaked or modified [...]

  19. [...] then voiced an overwhelming concern that Trader Joe’s private label products could contain GMOs. This was based upon the possibility that General Mills, the owner of Cheerios, is the maker of [...]

  20. [...] I’ve been using Bragg Liquid Aminosfor years as a healthy alternative to Soy and Tamari sauce. No table salt or preservatives are added.  The salty taste comes from the soy beans themselves. Also Braggs is third party certified non-GMO. [...]

  21. […] is the No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. and nearly all of it — 88 percent — is genetically modified. What’s even more alarming is that although common in the U.S., GMO corn is banned in […]

  22. […] Placing all the frightening ingredients aside, there’s one larger issue that you won’t find on most labels. These chips could contain genetically modified ingredients. […]

  23. […] The possible health effects of GMOs are frightening. More and more studies show that there could be major health effects including: […]

  24. […] class-action lawsuit was filed against Naked Juice for using genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs) and synthetic substances in products that were marketed as “Non-GMO” and […]

  25. […] while they’re at it, how about taking products with GMOs off their […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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