November 17th, 2014

5 Tips for Avoiding GMOs at the Supermarket

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Groovy Green Livin supermarket

As much as I would love to head to the supermarket once each week, no such luck. With three growing boys to feed the fridge looks pretty empty almost immediately after it’s been filled.

When I head to the supermarket I tend to stand in the aisles reading labels. Yes, I’m THAT woman. And I know I’m not alone. There’s no denying that most of us want to know what’s in our food. According to a New York Times poll 93% of people surveyed support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered.

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.

Unfortunately labeling of  GMOs in food ingredient lists isn’t required in the US. If we take a look at our friends in the EU and other countries -GMO labeling has been the norm for years.

When we head to the supermarket our pocket books can do some of the talking since food buying power has a tremendous impact on our food system.

Here are 5 tips to help you purchase food at the supermarket without GMOs

Buy Organic When You Can

Look for the organic certification when you do your shopping and buy organic when you can. Products with an organic certification are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

USDA certified products cannot intentionally contain GMOs.  The USDA does not require testing for GMOs, so accidental contamination may occur.

Look for the Non-GMO Project SealGroovy Green Livin GMOs Supermarket

Remember that Non-GMO isn’t the same as organic. The label provides consumers with independent, third party assurance that the product contains no GMOs (products tested must contain less that .9percent GMOs, which allows for unintentional contamination). And yes, there could be unintentional contamination.

Avoid Ingredients that Could Come from GMOs

For shoppers it can be challenging to keep up with the foods that are at-risk of being genetically modified, and even if you are up-to-date that list is constantly changing. According to The Non GMO Project the ingredients with a high probability of being GMO are:

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

If you see these ingredients they could contain GMOs:

Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

Stick with Fruits and Veggies

Most fruits and veggies found at the supermarket, especially organic, are non-GMO. Steer clear of those listed above and you’ll be eating food packed with nutrition without the genetic engineering.

Buy in Bulk

Head to the bulk section at the supermarket and load up on dry beans and fruit, nuts, cereals and seeds. Buy organic bulk food when you can. If you avoid anything in the bulk section with corn and soy and there’s a good chance you’ll be eating GMO-free.

How do you avoid buying GMOs at the supermarket?


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photo credit: It’sGreg via photopin cc

23 Responses to “5 Tips for Avoiding GMOs at the Supermarket”

  1. Thanks for the tips. It has become so complicated to feed your family great products. Trust me I read all the labels too!
    Divina recently posted..(Video) 2014 #KidzVuzHoliday Party Recap #ShareHappy #BrewitUpMy Profile

  2. Thanks for these tips! We do avoid buying GMO products.
    maryanne @ mama smiles recently posted..Education Transforms LivesMy Profile

  3. Great post and tips! It can be very confusing when trying to grocery shop.

  4. I really appreciate how you listed the crops that are likely not to be GMO, I’ve been wondering about such a list for a while! I usually buy organic to hit two birds with one stone!

  5. This is such an important issue and it gets me so upset when I think about how many foods have “sneaky” ingredients in there that are wrecking havoc on our bodies. Thanks for the tips! My pocketbook won’t like it but I’m glad that a Whole Foods is now on my daily commute so it is easier to buy organic foods than the limited amount I find at my local market.
    Tamara @ We3Travel recently posted..Check the Northern Lights off your Bucket List with a Hurtigruten CruiseMy Profile

  6. I like how you shared what might be GMO. It’s a great starting place for those looking to avoid it in their diets! Thanks, Lori!

  7. Thank you for posting the foods that most commonly are GMO. Even if I can’t buy organic all the time, at least I know which ones to avoid buying non-organic.

  8. I try to be aware of the same list you provided that are most likely GMO. It’s scary to think that we don’t label them, but they are labelled pretty much everywhere else.
    Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? recently posted..40 WeeksMy Profile

  9. […] continue reading this post → […]

  10. I am always THAT mom in the bread aisle…trying to buy bread is nearly impossible without buying organic. I struggle with making sure I’m buying GMO-free options when I do my online grocery shopping. At least I can get Whole Foods delivery now via Instacart.
    Emily @Random Recycling recently posted..Peapod Celebrates 25 years of Grocery Delivery {Giveaway}My Profile

  11. Eating as little packaged food as possible! And looking for the non-GMO verified or organic seal when I do.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..Is Your Home Shoeless? 3 Critical Reasons to Leave Shoes at the DoorMy Profile

  12. Hi Betsy, Avoiding packaged food is a great tip. Thanks!

  13. The bread aisle is the worst Emily! Hours can be spent in that one aisle alone. The lists are long, small print and many unfamiliar ingredients. Ugh.

  14. It’s just crazy Krystyn! Makes is so challenging for the consumer to make educated choices.

  15. You’re so welcome Suzanne.

  16. You’re welcome Sara. You’re right, it’s a great starting point. We have a lot of work to do in this area.

  17. Hi Tamara, Maybe your pocket book won’t like it, but your health will! So much easier when a store like Whole Foods in convenient.

  18. The list of ingredients are likely to be GMO Lindsay. Hope that helps!

  19. Thanks Sommer. Yes, the supermarket can be a very confusing place.

  20. Glad to know I’m not alone Divina!

  21. Great tips! thanks

  22. GMOs really scare me. We buy a lot of stuff at Trader Joe and I’m hoping I’m doing a decent job staying away from the GMOs.
    Caroline Murphy recently posted..Stomach Flu at HomeMy Profile

  23. So important! We do our best to avoid GMOs, but I wasn’t aware of zucchinis being on the “naughty list.” Will have to keep that in mind. Thanks for this!

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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