Four Simple Tips to Avoiding GMO's
How to Avoid GMO Produce?
While avoiding GMO products altogether is a much more difficult task, given the many ingredients that contain corn or soy for example, avoiding raw fruits and vegetables that are GMO can be a much more simple task. The stickers or labels attached to fruit and some vegetables actually contain a code that can tell you much more than you realize about that food. The PLU code, or price lookup code printed on the sticker, tells you how the fruit was grown. By reading this short code, you can tell if the product was genetically modified, organically grown, or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.
Is Organic Always GMO Free? by GMO Awareness
Organic is Usually GMO Free
Buying 100% Organic, Certified Organic, and USDA Organic-labeled products is usually the easiest way to identify and avoid genetically modified ingredients.
The United States and Canadian governments do NOT allow companies to label products “100% / Certified Organic” if they contain genetically modified foods.
To put it in more detail:
100% Organic: Must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that certifies a completely organic product AND completely GMO-free ingredients.
Certified Organic / USDA Organic: At least 95 percent of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). The <5% remaining ingredients must consist of substances approved on the USDA’s National List. GMOs are NOT on this list, so USDA Organic products are also usually GMO-free. For verification, consult the following sources:
Made with Organic: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label and are NOT typically GMO-free.
But lately, even organic products are at risk….
Why Say “Usually?”
If USDA certification requires at least 95% of content to be organic, and a GMO ingredient can’t be included in that 5%, then USDA Organic is GMO-free, right? Not always. Depending on the product, sometimes there are tiny loopholes.
Says Barry Estabrook (author of Politics of the Plate) in this excellent article: “The casings for those tasty USDA Organic sausages can come from conventionally raised animals that have been fed antibiotics (or GMO-laden corn). The hops in your favorite organic beer can be sprayed with all manner of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.”
The USDA’s loophole list also includes two far more common ingredients: non-organic cornstarch (which in our opinion is long overdue for removal from the “acceptable” list, considering how many sources of organic cornstarch are now readily available to commercial food manufacturers), and soy lecithin (though only one form of soy lecithin is allowed, and only when an organic option is not available).
The loophole list includes a few surprises too, such as the use of antibiotics on organic apples and pears, in order to prevent fire blight. Fortunately the National Organics Standards Board recently decided to disallow this practice effective October 2014.
How are these organic loopholes possible? Typically it’s because there is no readily available, commercially manufactured organic option for that particular product or ingredient (though in the case of organic cornstarch, we beg to differ).
But sometimes there’s another reason… says Barry: “The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which has the power to determine what materials can — and cannot — be used in organic production, too often weakens regulations in the face of intense lobbying by corporations who are more interested in the higher profits conferred by the word “organic” than in strong and meaningful standards.” And let’s just remember how much Monsanto has invested in corporate lobbying dollars…
Getting discouraged yet? There’s more…
Despite rigid organic certification procedures, organic certification is about the *process* of growing food, not about the actual resulting food. There is no testing process for organic ingredients, so there is a chance that GMO contamination could occur.
And sadly, GMO contamination can happen any number of natural ways: 1.) via cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops, 2.) from trace amounts of GMO ingredients found in animal feed (as per the alfalfa/bluegrass section above), 3.) from seeds traveling by wind or by migratory birds that take root in the soil of an organic farm, and 4.) from ingredient suppliers that co-mingle various sources.
Just look at this recent response from the USDA regarding a series of questions raised by organic farmers after GMO alfalfa was approved. A similar situation is already happening in Australia— a farmer just lost his organic certification due to wind-borne contamination from a neighboring GMO crop.
Even more sobering is the potential contamination from genetically engineered Kentucky Bluegrass. This grass is used in animal forage — including grass-fed animals. Now that Kentucky Bluegrass been genetically engineered for RoundUp resistance, not only does it contain genetic material that is no longer natural, but it can be heavily sprayed with RoundUp to remove weeds. And because grass spreads rapidly, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes the next superweed.
Last but not least, “contamination” can also happen when it takes nearly three years for a manufacturer who illegally uses the term “organic” in their labeling to be noticed, reported, investigated, and forced to amend their label. The oversight of organic manufacturers “falls far short of assuring standards are met.”
Buying USDA Organic / GMO Free
As explained above, buying USDA Organic is by no means a failsafe. However at this point in time, USDA Organic remains one of the best and most easily-identifiable ways of assuring that you are eating GMO-free foods most of the time.
Want to take it one step further? Buy products that are also certified by the Non-GMO Project. The certification process behind this label is currently the best possible way of assuring that you are eating GMO-free food (though bear in mind, not all of the products bearing the Non-GMO Project label are organic—for the best of both worlds, chose products that also include the USDA Organic label).
Sadly however, just like organic certification, the word “usually” once again comes into play: the Non-GMO Project’s website clearly states that its label does not guarantee a product is 100% GMO-free, because contamination is an ever-growing threat. So what does the label really mean?
Note: The information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.
Note: The website www.naturalhealthcarestore.com does not provide medical advise. The site simply provides research data for informational purposes. The content included in this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding medical conditions. Statements included in this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products carried by the Natural Healthcare Store are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Natural Healthcare Store
(Authorized trade name of parent company
A Heart of the
All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the copyright holder.