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Can we completely avoid genetically modified foods?

Anissa Ford's picture

Avoiding GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and genetically engineered seeds just got harder now that President Obama has signed the bill to protect Monsanto from litigation over genetically modified foods.

Monsanto has a one year lease to grow and harvest genetically modified crops with the passage of H.R. 933. In the United States, as long as the genetically modified crop is legal, producers don’t have to inform consumers that the foods are GM. 75 percent of processed foods with genetically modified origins are sold in grocery stores in the United States.

Opponents of the legislation and opponents of GMOs say that food companies should label their foods with GM information in the same way they label caloric and fat content. Food companies feel that process is costly. Monsanto is one of the largest, and most profitable corporations in the world.

Long labeled “franken foods” the most severe criticism of GM crops comes from anti-GMO crusaders who say that the GMOs on supermarket shelves has led to a rise in soy related allergies. There are also concerns that GMOs are responsible for a rise in Bt immune response and reproductive problems.

But that isn’t true in a number of countries around the globe. All of Europe, Russia, China and South Africa require labeling on foods that contain GM ingredients. Japan has also imposed GM restrictions and bans.

In the United States, there are six common sources of genetically modified organisms. Products containing soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets are likely the results of genetic engineering. These foods contain byproducts like high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and vegetable and canola oils.

Simply put, avoiding GMOs means cutting down or eliminating conventional foods that contain soy, canola, corn, sugar beets, beef of cows that were not 100 percent grass fed, and processed foods, including cheese.

Half of North America’s soy crops are genetically engineered. 85 percent of the corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered. Genetically engineered canola is so ingrained in the U.S. that graduate students found GM strains growing wild alongside roads in North Dakota one year.

Conventionally raised cows are likely fed GMO corn to help increase fat marbling. If the beef is not organic, the cows should be grass fed before slaughter. Processed foods, cheeses for example, are likely to have at least one genetically modified ingredient. Consumers can avoid GMOs by choosing whole foods and cooking and preparing the food themselves.

Genetically modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. in 2009. Like many GMO crops, the strain was introduced so the food would become herbicide resistant and lethal to insects.

Organic farmers raise their crops without chemicals to control pestilence. Environmentalists and health advocates are most opposed to H.R. 933 because it’s no longer disputable that process foods encourage obesity and other health related diseases (diabetes, for example) and vegetarians, vegans especially, are wary of their whole and organic foods being traded off for foods that are bred to kill other animals. (Some GMO crops are genetically modified so that they kill insects that may destroy the plant or a farmer’s crops).

photo: Genetically modified plums. The plums were grown GMO to make them resistances to a pox carried by aphids.
source: Wikipedia.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I talk to enough people to know there is something going on with the majority of people involving either gastointestinal problems or sudden food intolerances. This is something that never happened 20 yrs. ago. It's usually from anything that contains corn, soy, canola, cottonseed oil. I had a yogurt yesterday & my lips became swollen. I looked on the label & the 4th ingredient was CORN STARCH, and I got a nasty stomach ache too. Frankenfood.

Decades of research has shown no side effects caused by GMO crops. You may have some other allergy.

I disagree with diagnosing diseases, illness, allergies, etc over the internet. So would medical professionals agree that is a very bad idea. Decades of research in favor of GMO does not explain the awful surge in childhood obesity, accelerated growth in preteens, or why the number one cause of death in the United States is diabetes and heart disease. However, foods do. And the push for gmo's for whatever reason (resistance to pestilence, reduced productions cost) is a push toward a physically and dietary unhealthy society. There's no way around it and I feel it is really irresponsible to promote foods and causes that don't benefit a person's long term health. There are a number of rising and unprecedented illnesses in the past two to three decades that are unexplained. Look to the lead fight in California. Corporations operate in the interest of profit, not physical health of consumers. Organic consumption is a wake up call for people who have been ignoring their bodies' pleas to engage in a healthier lifestyle . Healthy people are happy people. Happy people are beautiful people.

Submitted by FarmGirl (not verified) on
Anissa, Just a few corrections. In the U.S. approximately 90% of soybeans grown have been improved through biotechnology. "GM" sugarbeets have a gene inserted that makes them tolerant to glyphosate - Roundup - but do as your article suggests have genes for insect resistance. HR 933 does not, as you state give companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer a "1 year lease to grow and harvest genetically modified crops". Rather it protects farmers who, in good faith, have planted an approved biotech crop from having to tear it out of the ground because of activist lawsuits. This was a situation faced by sugarbeet growers following multiple lawsuits by an anti-biotech NGO. Also, today I read the results of a poll by the Hartman Group. A majority of consumers strongly agree that they not food companies are responsible for their weight.

Submitted by Oldmoss (not verified) on
Several GM crops - soybean, canola, corn and cotton seed - produce edible oils. These are often mixed and not identified as to origin. To avoid GM vegetable oil the best bet is to buy palm oil, none of which is GM.

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