Genetically-modified foods are scary business and one that needs to be taken seriously by all of us. If large corporations can find a way to save a buck or make a buck, you know they'll do it. Unfortunately, that is the way of our culture. If GMOs help companies like Monsanto to produce crops at lower and lower prices, they'll do it, regardless of the lack of information on GMO safety in the long-run.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family:
- Shop Organic. By law, anything labeled organic must be free of GMOs. The top 4 GMOs are soy, canola, corn, and cotton. If you're buying a packaged food (and I hope you aren't), check the list of ingredients for one of those 4 foods. If any of them are in there and it's not labeled organic, you can almost guarantee that it's GM. By the way, popping corn is not considered in the same category as corn used for corn syrup, corn oil, etc. and is usually non-GM.
- Shop Local. This can be easily accomplished by shopping at your local farmer's market. At this point, it's only large corporations purchasing from large-scale farms that are using GMOs. By supporting your local, small, family-run farm, you're almost guaranteed to avoid GMOs.
- Eat at Home More Often. Almost all restaurants, especially fast-food restaurants, use one or a combination of soy, canola, or corn oil in their cooking, and it's almost always GM. Cooking at home and using organic extra-virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, or organic butter will help you to avoid those low-quality oils and avoid GMOs.
- Avoid Processed Foods. GMOs can be hidden in additives and artificial sweeteners, which are often included in processed foods. Focusing more on whole foods, like clean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains will help you to easily avoid processed foods and easily avoid GMOs.
- Look for the Non-GMO label. Unfortunately, it is not mandated in the U.S. to label GMOs. However, some organizations are beginning to voluntarily label their products, especially products you'll find in a health food store, whether a national chain or a local one. Support these companies!
This situation makes me really angry. I believe in people's right to choose for themselves. If someone chooses to eat processed foods or non-organic foods, I might not make those same choices, but I support everyone's right to make their own choices. But, when it comes to GMOs in the United States, we don't have the right to make our own choice because there is no precedent for truth-in-labeling.
In the end, it always comes down to money. So, use your food dollars as political leverage. Stop buying or eating foods made with GMOs! Write to your local Congressperson to demand labeling of GMOs! Even if you aren't a political person, I know you care about your health and the health of your family. Using the 5 tips above will help to ensure your health for a long time to come.