We mentioned GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) as one of seven foods that are bad for the environment. We could write a book about this important issue. Many commercial GMOs are plants that have been genetically engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide so that large farms can spray to kill weeds without harming their target crop. This is simply not natural and, for those of us striving to eat healthy food free of harmful toxins, this is downright scary.
The Non GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing non-GMO choices. Their motto: “Working together to ensure the sustained availability of non-GMO food and products”. Their website is chock-full of information to help you learn about GMOs and make healthy choices.
The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow). GMOs can be hidden in many processed foods such as in Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C, Flavorings (both natural and artificial), High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc. Unfortunately, in the United States, GMOs do not have to be labeled in the grocery stores like many European countries. Because labeling is not required, you probably didn’t know that large quantities of a GMO sweet corn appeared on grocery shelves and roadside produce stands in 2012! Thanks to the Non GMO Project, you can find information to help you avoid GMO products. See their list of verified non-GMO products. You can download their iPhone App Shopping Guide Here.
There’s more to the GMO story that has to do with pollination and how plant seeds are dispersed. The bottom line is that GMOs are likely to move out of the fields in which they are planted. One true story has to do with a bentgrass (Agrostis sp.) being grown in test trials in Central Oregon by Monsanto for use as a golf course grass so that herbicides could be sprayed to kill other weeds but not harm this grass. This perennial wind-pollinated plant, which could cross-pollinate with wild native relatives, “escaped” and spread, now found along irrigation canals as far away as eastern Oregon, where it is difficult to remove this undesirable plant.
The Non GMO Project states: “Shopping organic is a great step towards ensuring that your family eats the healthiest foods possible. The challenge is that although GMOs are an excluded method under the National Organic Program, organic certification does not require GMO testing. Choosing products that are Certified Organic AND Non-GMO Project Verified is the best way to make sure you are getting the safest, healthiest, highest-quality food for your family.”
If you strive to avoid GMO products, look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified Seal”. Thank you Non GMO Project, for researching and sharing this information so I can make healthy choices!